The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new guidelines stating that people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not have to quarantine if they are exposed to someone who has the virus.
“Fully vaccinated persons who meet criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19,” the CDC said Wednesday.
It added, “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 criteria are that the person has had both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine approved by the FDA and that two weeks has passed since the second vaccination. Studies show that it takes about two weeks for full immunity to build up after the second dose of the vaccination, according to The Hill.
Vaccinated people still supposed to wear masks, social distance
If more than three months have passed since the second dose of the vaccine, however, the quarantine is still warranted, the CDC said, because experts are unsure how long the effects of the vaccine will last.
“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.
Vaccinated people are still supposed to wear masks, social distance, and follow other CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. It is still unclear whether people who have been vaccinated can spread the virus to others.
Millions of people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated, and more vaccines including a Johnson&Johnson version that only requires one dose will be seeking FDA approval soon.
Cases and hospitalizations have declined to October levels over the past several weeks, but are still considered high. New variants are expected to cause cases to rise again because they seem to be more infectious than the strains already circulating widely in the U.S.
Deaths have also declined from peak levels to a lesser degree, but are thought to lag a few weeks behind new case numbers in their movement.
It is also possible that some of the deaths classified as being from the coronavirus are actually flu deaths, since the numbers for the flu are much lower than expected.
Pfizer reported that it has now cut its production time in half with on-the-fly improvements to its manufacturing processes, as it tries to meet an ambitious goal of two billion doses by the end of the year. Johnson&Johnson has similar production time and only requires one dose of the virus, which will speed the process along when it is approved by the FDA.