Traveling with fully vaccinated passengers might not be a safe as you think.

A year and a half ago, we were introduced to a new virus. In quick order, the world was infected, and a pandemic ensued. We were in the We Do Not Know What We Do Not Know mode. Quickly, medical research responded to develop ways to contain the spread of the disease.

We learned that some of the same things that prevent other diseases from spreading are effective against this new enemy. Initially, isolation brought the control needed to allow hospitals to react appropriately. Hand washing, social distance, face masks, and more were required.

We observed that some people could spread the virus to others without ever having symptoms – asymptomatic. A year ago, the best guess over time is that about 40% of the population had no symptoms. A few may have had light symptoms that did not align with the expected indicators of viral infection.

Vaccines were developed that were initially very effective in preventing the spread of the virus. We were also told that if a person contracted the virus, they should expect milder symptoms and most likely would not be hospitalized, and the risk of death was significantly reduced.

The same advice we started with is still being followed today. We knew nothing of the virus eighteen months ago. We know a lot more now, and there are some disconnects. When vaccines had potency, the infection rates were lowered. Instead, we are experiencing escalating rates of infection from those who were presumably protected with two doses.

New Travel Rules New rules for travel may end up being super-spreaders for viral reinfection. Travel bans were implemented to stop the virus from spreading. On November 8, non-citizen and non-immigrant air travelers must show proof of full vaccination and a pre-departure negative coronavirus test within three days of departure.

Also, starting in less than two weeks, unvaccinated United States citizens and permanent residents must show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test within one day of departure and again upon returning to the United States.

When the unvaccinated were the primary target of the virus, this made sense. Ensure everyone is safe. However, with the degradation of the vaccine allowing fully vaccinated people to become infected and infect others, should the vaccinated also be afforded the same protection as the unvaccinated?

Not all states report breakthrough cases, breakthrough hospitalizations, or breakthrough deaths. Minnesota is one state that reports these numbers.

Minnesota Originally, the vaccine safely prevented over 95% of people from contracting the virus. Today, the shot’s effectiveness is less than fifty percent and climbing weekly. The link above reports that nearly 52,000 fully vaccinated people have become infected with COVID-19, with over 2,400 hospitalizations and 300 deaths from COVID-19.

The trend is increasing rapidly. For example, at the end of June 2021, the infection rate for fully vaccinated people was consistently under three people per 100,000 in Minnesota. However, over a month ago, the infection rate for the fully vaccinated was over 150 people per 100,000 population. That is a 50 times increase in infections of the fully vaccinated.

The same reporting period, June 20, 2021, through September 19, 2021, saw an increase in the rate of breakthrough hospitalizations of nearly sixteen times. In addition, the breakthrough death rate increased seven times. The fully vaccinated are spreading the virus to the unvaccinated and the other fully vaccinated people.

During the first few days of infection, many tests for COVID-19 do not pick up the presence of the virus. An infected person on an airplane (or at work) can infect many despite face masks. We all take our masks off to eat or drink. Many of us relax our guard because we feel bulletproof with two doses of vaccine.

New York New York reports over 110,000 fully vaccinated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 7,500 breakthrough hospitalizations as of the middle of October 2021.

Arizona Just under 20% of new COVID-19 cases in Arizona are fully vaccinated, people.


Today’s headline in Massachusetts – – confirmed over 1,100 new breakthrough COVID-19 cases with 23 recent deaths.


The public should know that being fully vaccinated with two shots is no longer a safe option for travel or work. When you work in an office, and everyone has shown the requisite vaccine paperwork, the spread of the virus will be inevitable. Getting a booster shot every four to six months is not the answer either.

We expect a vaccine to be effective for more than a few months. The vaccine may still reduce the risk of severe symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths; however, more vaccinated and unvaccinated people will become candidates for naturally acquired immunity by becoming infected with coronavirus.

Living under the old rules (and perspectives) that the vaccinated are safe from infection is no longer valid. Opening the airlines to newly asymptomatic travelers, and eliminating the unvaccinated
from workplaces may not be the best solution.

I wish I could suggest a better plan.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



4 Responses

  1. How about we treat it like influenza – recognize it’s among us and address on an “as needed” basis. Localize rather than nationalize.

    1. Hiett: Good suggestion, but the stigma of a virus that kills more people than seasonal influenza must change first. Yes, the survival rate from the pandemic virus is over 99%, yet the collective psyche of our society is believing it is much worse. How many people do you see driving in a car wearing a mask, for instance? There are things that can be done to shift perspectives, but with this virus being classified as a national safety issue, the government, courts, states, and more react differently and there is no central, aligned focus to return to everyday life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *