Fully vaccinated people can skip COVID quarantines, CDC says

People who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus -- right now that means with two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine -- can skip...

Posted: Feb 11, 2021 12:23 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2021 12:25 PM

People who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus -- right now that means with two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine -- can skip quarantine if they are exposed to someone infected with the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

That doesn't mean they should stop taking precautions, the CDC noted in updated guidance. It's just not necessary for them to quarantine.

"Fully vaccinated persons who meet criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19," the CDC said in updates to its web page with guidance on vaccination.

"Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria," the CDC added.

The criteria: They must be fully vaccinated -- having had both shots with at least two weeks having passed since the second shot. That's because it takes two weeks to build full immunity after the second dose of vaccine.

But the CDC says it's not known how long protection lasts, so people who had their last shot three months ago or more should still quarantine if they are exposed. They also should quarantine if they show symptoms, the CDC said.

"This recommendation to waive quarantine for people with vaccine-derived immunity aligns with quarantine recommendations for those with natural immunity, which eases implementation," the CDC said. The agency will update guidance as more is learned.

People who have been vaccinated should still watch for symptoms for 14 days after they have been exposed to someone who is infected, the CDC said.

And everyone, vaccinated or not, needs to follow all other precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC said. This is not least because it's possible even vaccinated people could harbor the virus in their noses and throats, and pass it to others.

"At this time, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, 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," the agency said.

Vaccines prevent symptomatic illness but they have not yet been shown to prevent asymptomatic illness, the CDC noted. While people with no symptoms can spread coronavirus, the CDC said, "symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission is thought to have a greater role in transmission than purely asymptomatic transmission."

Plus, the benefits of not unnecessarily forcing people into lockdown for two weeks may outweigh the risks of transmission in these cases, the CDC said.

"These criteria could also be applied when considering work restrictions for fully vaccinated healthcare personnel with higher-risk exposures, as a strategy to alleviate staffing shortages. Of note, exposed healthcare personnel would not be required to quarantine outside of work, the CDC said.

"As an exception to the above guidance no longer requiring quarantine for fully vaccinated persons, vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings should continue to quarantine following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; outpatients should be cared for using appropriate Transmission-Based Precautions," the CDC added.

That's because it's not clear how effective the vaccine is in people who are hospitalized.

"Although not preferred, healthcare facilities could consider waiving quarantine for vaccinated patients and residents as a strategy to mitigate critical issues (e.g., lack of space, staff, or PPE to safely care for exposed patients or residents) when other options are unsuccessful or unavailable. These decisions could be made in consultation with public health officials and infection control experts."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2514422

Reported Deaths: 56038
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33302810840
Queens31485510285
Suffolk2388013596
Nassau2139053290
Bronx2073266748
New York1677674635
Westchester1434812338
Erie1057911944
Richmond887311933
Monroe838301183
Orange57344909
Rockland52979779
Onondaga51689758
Dutchess35490497
Albany30633388
Oneida28461585
Broome24233404
Niagara23884397
Saratoga20111198
Ulster17224278
Schenectady16592227
Rensselaer14692167
Putnam1244896
Chautauqua12318174
Oswego11556112
Chemung10798154
St. Lawrence10424126
Steuben10037173
Ontario9296110
Jefferson874874
Cayuga8613107
Sullivan843183
Wayne810384
Cattaraugus7622113
Genesee6945132
Herkimer6741128
Clinton666538
Tompkins647559
Fulton6258102
Madison6138102
Montgomery5890139
Livingston568071
Warren540782
Cortland531379
Tioga503671
Columbia4984111
Chenango465786
Allegany457196
Washington456467
Otsego454154
Greene435386
Wyoming434958
Orleans429487
Franklin423320
Lewis357138
Delaware352947
Seneca272563
Schoharie227721
Essex226831
Yates161028
Schuyler152417
Hamilton4353
Unassigned14826
Out of NY0311
Utica
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Oneonta
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