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Guide for Fully Vaccinated Campers

by Kendra Clapp OlguínJun 11, 2021

After scouring the website vaccinefinder.org for weeks earlier this year, I came across a small mountain pharmacy in Arizona that had just opened up to administer vaccines. Better yet, they were administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a full-time RVer’s dream vaccine. It would be a two-hour mountain drive, but it was glaringly worth it. I booked our appointments as soon as I saw them.

A woman looks out to the cloud covered ocean in Big Sur, CA.

Going from campground to campground, we were meticulously mindful about the threat of being carriers of COVID 19. While camping has been and continues to be a safe activity to do during this pandemic, camping at 60 campgrounds across the nation during the height of a pandemic demanded a level of mindfulness that we agreed upon when we hit the road last summer—curbside pick-up, constant hand sanitizer, masks, social distancing, outside check-ins. We did it all, and we did so willingly.

This pandemic crushed different industries, and it’s not lost on us how unique of a circumstance it is that the camping and outdoor industries– our industries– continue to boom. So yes, we did all the practices willingly because doing so enabled others to be safe, work, and continue living their lives.

A hiker stands on the Devil's Bridge in Sedona, AZ.

With that poke of a needle, I felt such a sense of relief I’m sure many experienced as well. While we would continue to practice local or federal mandates, we wouldn’t have to second-guess whether we cleaned our cellphones enough or if we stood too close to a fellow camper.

Now, being fully vaccinated enables us to camp and travel in the world before the pandemic. Unless mandated, we can pass by hikers on the trail without a mask, gather around the picnic table while cards with our campground neighbor, or go from state to state without worrying about bringing something unwanted with us.

A camper prepares screwers on a Snow Peak campfire.

As of May 13th, 2021, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals can:

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible
A hiker approaches a downed tree on the trail.

The CDC adds that fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

Just a refresher, someone is considered fully vaccinated for COVID 19 two weeks after they received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after they received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ultimately, the announcement advises that fully vaccinated individuals continue following any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

An SUV pulling an Airstream trailer goes through a forest of saguaro cacti in Arizona.

I know the idea of the vaccine is controversial to some and I don’t mean to ruffle anyone’s feathers, but I hope by providing our first-hand account before and after our vaccines demonstrates what the CDC’s newest guidelines mean for fully vaccinated campers.

I wish everyone health and happiness during these times and here’s to hoping we see you all at the campground.