Travel Safe Don’t let the last two years of viral pandemics deter you from enjoying life. For many, travel is one of the real joys of life. If you are like most of us you are planning a trip very soon. We are all ready to get back to the ‘old normal’ and abandon the ‘new normal’. I am not suggesting that the coast is totally clear nor that the authorities of healthcare have given the all-clear signal. There are still outbreaks in many countries of the Omicron sub-variant B.2. The UK just reported last week a daily average of 75,100 new cases. The dominant culprit there is the sub-variant B.2. This is a concern, but as yet we have not seen dramatic outbreaks in the United States, and we may not in the future. This variant appears not to cause severe illnesses, witnessed by the fact there has been no increase in deaths where there are outbreaks. Many are vaccinated and some are still wearing masks but I really think we’re on the downhill of this pandemic. I feel this so strongly, I will be traveling the day this is posted and will be crossing the pond to Europ.

Before we get to personal particulars, we need to consider if you are in the group recommended to have a 2nd booster. On March 29, 2022, the CDC made recommendations, following the FDA, for a second booster vaccine. In summary, certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago are eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. At this time, not much hard data for the merit of this exists. A study from Israel was just published in NEJM. This large study (1.2 million adults over 60) showed a second booster( fourth shot of Pfizer mRNA vaccine) provides short-term protection and a modest absolute benefit. Those who received a second booster were 78 percent less likely to die of Covid-19 than those who had received just one booster shot. Protection against infection appeared to peak four weeks after the second booster and by week 8, protection disappeared. Again this is an ongoing study, and only short duration data is available on these older adults.

Traveling safe means pre-planning and thoughtful packing. Your customary medications must be packed, and carry two days’ worth on your person in case luggage is lost. Recent imaging studies for conditions you are recovering from should be printed and packed. Should you need a refill early for your trip, ask the pharmacy, as they usually will accommodate your need. I carry a typed one-page summary of my medical history including medications. I don’t take my insurance cards unless staying in the US. I am packing masks with me, although shortly (April 18) airplanes in the US will follow others (British Airways, Icelandair, EasyJet) dropping requirements to wear while onboard. Yes, my hand sanitizer (80% alcohol) is on my person. Yes, airplanes are cleaned after flights but I keep it handy for onboard use in the lavatory or before meals and snacks.

I am not discounting a distinct possibility that an outbreak of new variants could emerge while I am on vacation. It has happened, usually, when a large number of individuals become infected, a new or sub-variant arises. Remember Delta variant gave way to Omicron variant and Omicron to its sub-variant- B.2. You know I will be wearing a mask. I don’t count on being able to buy masks, neither should you even if you are staying in the US. A short supply of products like masks is possible. Be prepared for your safe trip.

Being Prepared you will ENJOY YOUR TRIP.