June 4, 2021 -- People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to be tested regularly or quarantine, even after being exposed to someone who was sick, according to the latest CDC guidance.
At the same time, those who are fully vaccinated should get tested or quarantine if they develop COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, and fatigue.
“Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, be restricted from work, or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as their risk of infection is low,” the CDC wrote.
“However, they should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure,” the CDC added.
The updated guidance is based on recent studies that show vaccinated people face a very low risk of serious disease, according to the Associated Press. Even if vaccinated individuals get infected, they’re less likely to spread it to others, and they have mild or no symptoms.
This means that vaccinated people can be excluded from routine workplace screenings, the CDC said, though many employers aren’t tracking their employees’ vaccination status. Screening is still recommended for those who work in homeless shelters, prisons, and health care facilities due to the higher risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Vaccinated people can resume domestic travel without testing or quarantining. For international travel, U.S. citizens who return from another country still need to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights home regardless of vaccination status, the CDC said. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should still isolate for 10 days.
The CDC will likely relax additional guidelines as more people get vaccinated this year, the AP reported. Many common colds and viruses cause symptoms that are similar to COVID-19, for instance, which could lead to unnecessary testing in the fall.
“As we race to open back up, a whole variety of infections that we don’t routinely test for are going to cause those same symptoms,” Rebecca Wurtz, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Minnesota, told the AP.
“You should wash your hands and stay home from work, but there’s no need to run out to be tested,” she said.