CDC Clarifies New Guidelines for Vaccinations and Quarantines

If they meet appropriate requirements, vaccinated persons will not be required to self-isolate following exposure.
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination record card with masks, Minnesota. (Photo by: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The CDC released new guidance on Wednesday regarding the correlation between vaccination and quarantine restrictions.

People who have been fully vaccinated and meet the below CDC requirements will no longer be required to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The CDC’s website explains the requirements in detail, stating that this applies to people who:

  • “Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure”

If someone does not meet the above criteria, they are required to continue to follow quarantine guidelines, which still include staying home for 14 days after contact, watching for symptoms of COVID-19, and staying away from others —  especially those who are higher risk individuals.

If a person meets the fully vaccinated criteria and does not quarantine, he or she should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Should he or she begin to experience symptoms, “they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing.”

The CDC notes that these criteria can be used for fully vaccinated healthcare personnel with higher-risk exposures, in order to reduce staffing shortages and that healthcare personnel would not have to quarantine outside of work.

The Center acknowledges that while the possibility of transmission from vaccinated persons to others is still unknown, “vaccination has been demonstrated to prevent symptomatic COVID-19” and “symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission” is believed to have a “greater role in transmission” as opposed to transmission from someone who is asymptomatic.

People who have been vaccinated will still be required to follow social-distancing guidance put in place by the CDC, “including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use or SARS-CoV-2 testing.”

Quarantine is still required for “vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings” after an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The reason for this is due to the “unknown vaccine effectiveness in this population, the higher risk of severe disease and death, and challenges with social distancing in healthcare settings.”

That being said, the CDC states that healthcare facilities could consider waiving quarantine requirements for vaccinated patients and residents in order to reduce issues that might arise from the requirements, such as “lack of space, staff, or PPE to safely care for exposed patients or residents.”

This announcement follows the Biden administration’s talk of social-distancing continuation last week, as reported by The Daily Wire.

At a Thursday press conference, Secretary Jen Psaki explained,

“…it’s not just a vaccine…It’s obviously an incredible medical breakthrough and we want every American to have one, but even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing [and] wearing masks is going to be essential and we’ll need to continue communicating about that through health and medical experts.”

To find out more about how quarantine requirements apply to you, visit the CDC website.

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