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Dr. Arwady On Spring Break Plans: Don't Travel Until You're Fully Vaccinated

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As spring break approaches for the Chicago area, the head of the city's health department wants people to rethink their plans if they involve traveling.

On Tuesday, Doctor Allison Arwady of the CDPH updated the city's travel order which now includes 26 states. She said it's tempting to make travel plans after a year of lockdowns and despite more people getting the COVID vaccine.

"Please do not travel until you are fully vaccinated. Two weeks post your second vaccine," Arwady said. "And that is doubly true if you're planning to travel internationally because the U.S. has done by far the most vaccines of any country in the world."

Arwady said for adults who are fully vaccinated but traveling with children who are not, the COVID situation is in "an in between moment" because not everyone can get vaccinated now.

"The best thing that you can do to protect children is for all the adults around them to be vaccinated," Arwady said. "The challenge here is that children are not going to be able to get a vaccine probably for a good number of months I don't anticipate teenagers probably until very late in the summer or sometime in the fall. If you are traveling and you have a child who really has a risk for severe outcomes, we do want to continue to protect that child and traveling would be of concern for them."

The doctor said for now, it's about controlling the spread and making sure as many people as possible get the COVID vaccine.

"I don't think we're going to eliminate COVID. But we actually define in our metrics what it means to be controlled from COVID ," Arwady said. "And if we can get down to the setting, where COVID is controlled, we're going to do that through vaccination, we'll see what that looks like across different settings."

Arwady is optimistic by mid to late summer, things will improve enough for people to travel a little more freely.

"(In) July, things are going to be much more open is my expectation," Arwady said, who added that COVID may not be completely eradicated, but if more people are vaccinated against COVID, it will improve the situation.

"If we're seeing, you know, some low level people getting COVID in a way that does not spread significantly and does not put people at risk for severe outcomes, it's probably something will just live with. And there may be further developments. We may still get a drug that is able to completely cure COVID But we don't have that yet. And so vaccine remains by far the best hope," Arwady said.

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