By Heather Sager and Lauren Kulpa

On February 10, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance to reflect that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 if the vaccinated person:

  • Is fully vaccinated (meaning it has been more than two weeks after receipt of the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that has a two-dose series, or it has been more than two weeks after receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine);
  • Is within three months following receipt of the last dose of the vaccine in a series; and
  • Remains asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Individuals who meet these criteria should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following exposure to COVID-19 and seek medical care if they experience symptoms of COVID-19. If individuals do not meet these criteria, they should follow current guidance on quarantining after exposure to COVID-19.

However, the CDC recommends that vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings still should follow preexisting quarantine recommendations (rather than the new standards above). The CDC has noted that while it is “not preferred,” healthcare facilities could consider waiving the quarantine requirements for vaccinated patients and residents to prevent critical issues such as lack of space, staff shortages, and shortages of PPE.

The CDC explained that these quarantine recommendations for vaccinated persons, including the criteria for timing since receipt of the last dose in the vaccination series, will be updated when more data become available and additional COVID-19 vaccines are authorized.