CDC relaxes 'highly vaccinated' cruise threshold

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The CDC now requires only 90% of cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated for a ship sailing to be considered "highly vaccinated," down from 95%.
The CDC now requires only 90% of cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated for a ship sailing to be considered "highly vaccinated," down from 95%. Photo Credit: Jo Panuwat D/Shutterstock.com

The CDC relaxed a key pandemic-era cruise regulation Thursday, allowing more unvaccinated adults and children to cruise on ships designated as "highly vaccinated." 

The regulation now requires 90% of cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated for a sailing to be considered "highly vaccinated." That's down from 95%, according to the CDC's Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters. 

That 90% threshold applies to passengers who are 5 years of age and older. Crew vaccination requirements remain unchanged at a 95% threshold. 

CLIA said the decision recognizes protective measures cruise ships have taken during the pandemic. A spokeswoman said the change is particularly notable because it will allow for a cruise line to carry more families traveling with children who are not vaccinated. 

The change came two days after the Carnival Spirit experienced a Covid outbreak during a 16-day Panama Canal sailing from Miami to Seattle. The cruise line said most cases were asymptomatic and there were no serious health issues. 

While the CDC recommends all people 2 years old and older wear masks on public transportation, such as at cruise terminals, the Federal Mask Mandate is no longer in effect. However, port authorities and local health officials may require masks to be worn.

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