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: 2147318

Reported Deaths: 53632
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28739010516
Queens28217910018
Suffolk2040833412
Nassau1870513184
Bronx1865306597
New York1427444530
Westchester1313192296
Erie905981814
Richmond770911855
Monroe698961117
Orange48988847
Rockland47345758
Onondaga39473680
Dutchess29847447
Albany25027358
Oneida22813518
Niagara20243375
Broome18789367
Saratoga15729168
Ulster14111258
Schenectady13361206
Rensselaer11422145
Putnam1073793
Chautauqua9008146
Chemung7840137
Oswego770493
Ontario750893
Steuben7013147
Sullivan676976
St. Lawrence675097
Cayuga642092
Jefferson625568
Wayne584873
Cattaraugus578193
Genesee5456124
Herkimer5255110
Clinton487833
Madison460689
Livingston455760
Fulton446193
Tompkins444152
Montgomery4291128
Columbia4130104
Cortland396864
Tioga387163
Warren376162
Wyoming362253
Allegany357987
Chenango355377
Otsego349747
Greene346879
Washington320355
Orleans314383
Lewis283736
Franklin257512
Delaware243139
Seneca203357
Schoharie173319
Essex162926
Yates118226
Schuyler109014
Hamilton3182
Unassigned8811
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