COVID-19 vaccines help bring us back to travel, family visits — even the gym

Summer is in full swing across the United States and this one promises to be special — as vaccinations continue, many of us are eager to take part in the kinds of activities we have held back on since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

As of June 2021, more than three-quarters of Americans 65 and older are fully vaccinated, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that means they can feel safe doing all the things they did before the pandemic.

An older couple hikes on a trail in the woods An older couple hikes on a trail in the woods


For a lot of Americans, that could mean hitting the road — or the skies, or the rails. The latest CDC guidelines offer recommendations for travel, once you are fully vaccinated. For those traveling in airports, trains or on buses, face masks will be required through Sept. 13, and local jurisdictions throughout the U.S. may still be imposing mask mandates and other COVID-19 related requirements.

For UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage members, you can also take comfort in the fact that your health care travels with you on your journey. More than one million providers are in our National Network and emergency care is covered, so if you find yourself needing care on your trip, sign into the plan website and customer service number on the back of your member ID card.

Family visits

Over the summer, many people may be reuniting with family for the first time in over a year. While visits with family and friends are considered safe for those vaccinated, there are still precautions that are wise to take, especially if in the presence of children who may still be unvaccinated, said UnitedHealthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Painter.

“It’s smart to keep doing some of the things we did more of during the height of the pandemic, such as washing our hands frequently – or helping the grandchildren wash their hands frequently,” Dr. Painter said.

Mask-wearing and social distancing may also be a good practice when around any unvaccinated person who might be especially vulnerable to COVID-19, Dr. Painter added.

Returning to the gym

Finally, many people who have UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare plans have access to Renew Active® by UnitedHealthcare®, which includes a free gym membership and access to a nationwide network of fitness locations, along with other resources for self-guided workouts and an online brain health program.

“Exercise is important for our physical and mental health and being vaccinated means you have the options you had before the pandemic, as well as new options,” Dr. Painter said. “People who are vaccinated can get back in the gym or start the exercise program they had to put off during the pandemic, and Renew Active can help them find the solution that works best for them.”

For those who are not yet vaccinated, Dr. Painter strongly recommends those who can get the vaccine, to do so as soon as possible.

For the latest about the vaccine, including coverage for UnitedHealthcare members, click here.

Renew Active® includes a standard fitness membership. The information provided through Renew Active is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Consult your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program or making changes to your lifestyle or health care routine. The Renew Active program varies by plan/area. Access to gym and fitness location network may vary by location and plan.

Network size varies by market and exclusions may apply.