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VERIFY: CDC says fully vaccinated people can skip quarantine after COVID-19 exposure only if they meet these conditions

Some fully vaccinated people can avoid a two-week quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19. The CDC lays out three criteria.

WASHINGTON — As more and more Americans receive their COVID-19 vaccines, questions are popping up around what we can do safely when fully vaccinated.

The CDC is consistently releasing new guidance as they learn more about vaccine efficacy, including tips for quarantining after exposure to COVID-19. Some news outlets ran with misleading headlines on this, so the Verify team is here to give you all the context you need to stay safe.

QUESTION:

Did the CDC say fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after possible or confirmed exposure to COVID-19?

SOURCE:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on vaccine clinical considerations 

ANSWER:

Yes, but only if you fit three criteria:

  • It's been at least two weeks since your final vaccine dose,
  • It's been within three months or 90 days of your final dose,
  • And you are showing no symptoms.

PROCESS:

The CDC advises that anyone who does not meet those three criteria should follow the CDC's quarantine guidance of staying home and away from others for 14 days. 

We asked a CDC spokesperson for the reasoning behind the second criterion, as there is some confusion about why anyone who is three months out from their vaccination would need to quarantine.

They told us they chose three months because it aligns with the CDC's guidance on quarantine for people who have been naturally infected with COVID-19. They say they are also waiting for further data on how vaccination prevents transmission.

"We’re not suggesting someone who is vaccinated cannot spread COVID-19 within the first 90 days of being fully vaccinated, nor are we suggesting that expected protection from COVID-19 vaccines wears off after 90 days."

The CDC says they plan to update their quarantine recommendations as more data become available and more vaccines are authorized for use in the U.S.