COVID Quarantines Not Necessary for Vaccinated People
THURSDAY, February 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Fully vaccinated Americans can now bypass quarantines if exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, according to new federal guidelines.
“Fully vaccinated people who meet the criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19,” the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidance published on their website on Wednesday.
There was a caveat: at least two weeks must have passed since the second shot, because it takes that long to build full immunity. But the CDC says it’s not known how long the protection lasts, so people who had their last vaccine three months or more ago should still quarantine if they are exposed or have symptoms, the agency added.
“This recommendation to forgo quarantine for people immunocompromised by a vaccine is consistent with quarantine recommendations for people who are immune,” the CDC said. People who have been vaccinated should still watch for symptoms for 14 days after being exposed to an infected person, the agency added.
This does not mean that vaccinated people should stop practicing social distancing, the CDC noted.
Everyone, vaccinated or not, must follow all other precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, the agency said.
“At this time, those vaccinated should continue to follow current guidelines to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least six feet from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often, following CDC travel advice, and following applicable workplace or school guidelines, including relative guidelines using personal protective equipment or testing for SARS-CoV-2, ”the agency said.
The vaccines prevent symptomatic illnesses, but they have not yet been shown to prevent asymptomatic illnesses, the CDC noted. While people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus, the CDC said, “symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission is considered to have a greater role in transmission than pure asymptomatic transmission.”
“These criteria could also be applied when considering work restrictions for fully vaccinated health workers with high-risk exposures, as a strategy to alleviate staff shortages. It should be noted that exposed health workers would not be forced to quarantine outside of work, ”the CDC said.
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