CDC: Quarantine not required for fully vaccinated people exposed to COVID under certain conditions

CDC: Quarantine not required for fully vaccinated people exposed to COVID under certain conditions

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) - The CDC updated quarantine guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. People who have received the full course of the COVID-19 vaccine won’t have to quarantine if they were exposed, but there are conditions they must meet.

The CDC says there are three requirements for a fully vaccinated person to no longer need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. Under the guidelines, exposure has to happen more than two weeks after getting the second or final dose. Fully vaccinated people also must be asymptomatic after exposure and be within a three-month timeframe since completing the vaccination process.

“I think this is an exciting development and a sign of what will come with the vaccine and the excellent protection it seems to provide from COVID-19,” said Dr. Ben Weston, associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who also serves as the medical director at Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Doctors say the three-week mark after your second dose is long enough for immunity to build up.

“The guidelines suggest confidence in this decreased transmission of people who are fully vaccinated,” he adds.

While Dr. Weston says it’s still not completely clear how much of an effect the vaccine has on preventing transmission, there are promising studies.

“A study that came out of Israel showed those who are vaccinated have significantly lower viral loads-- or the amount of virus in their body in their system,” Dr. Weston said.

Doctors say less virus in the body, means less virus is being shed. Dr. Jeff Pothof says there is a certain amount needed to make a person sick after exposure to COVID-19.

“That’s why you’ll hear stories of people who were in close contact for a short period of time with someone who’s COVID positive, they’re convinced that they’re going to get the disease—and they don’t,” says Dr. Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health.

Doctors say even if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s still important to mask up, keep your distance and avoid gatherings, because new variants require less virus to cause an infection.

“That’s because each individual one is more efficient to latching onto your cell and causing disease,” adds Dr. Pothof.

“It’s as critical of a time as ever for you to continue precautions, as frustrating as that is,” said Dr. Weston.  

The CDC also released guidelines on double masking. Dr. Pothof says while double masking is recommended, it’s important to focus on having a mask that’s well made, hugs your face tightly, fully covering your nose and mouth for the best protection.

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