The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday said that those who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus and who “meet criteria” will no longer be required to quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19. The CDC said the update applies to fully vaccinated people who have received the last dose within the previous three months, and have remained asymptomatic since the COVID-19 exposure.
“Persons who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19,” the agency stated while noting that while the risk of transmission from vaccinated persons remains uncertain, vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic COVID-19.
“Additionally, individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission, and facilitate the direction of public health resources to persons at highest risk for transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others,” the CDC stated.
The agency advised that fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure and that those who do develop symptoms should still be evaluated and tested. It also recommends that fully vaccinated persons continue to adhere to public health measures.
Further down in the update the agency noted that vaccinated inpatients or those who are residents in health care settings should still quarantine following exposure due to a higher risk of severe disease and death among this population.
“Although not preferred, healthcare facilities could consider waiving quarantine for vaccinated patients and residents as a strategy to mitigate critical issues when other options are unsuccessful or unavailable,” the agency stated.
The update was posted on the same day the CDC issued additional guidance regarding masks, which included data on wearing two masks rather than one. Specifically, the agency found wearing a cloth mask in addition to a surgical or medical mask was up to 95% effective at preventing aerosol transmission in a simulated lab experiment.