On March 8, 2021, the CDC issued its first set of Interim Guidelines for fully vaccinated people, recommending how they can have social gatherings and what they need to do if they are exposed to COVID-19. “Fully vaccinated people” are those who are at least two weeks out from their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or from their only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Although the CDC’s Interim Guidance is not mandatory, it is the first glimpse of a post-pandemic future and a clear incentive from the federal government for vaccination.
How Fully Vaccinated People Should Visit With Others
The CDC’s recommendations are for small, private gatherings only, and they are based upon whether everyone is fully vaccinated or not. The CDC still does not recommend “medium” and “large” private gatherings, but it does not define what a “medium” or “large” gathering entails.
- If everyone in the group is fully vaccinated, then everyone can meet indoors and without masks or social distancing.
- If there are unvaccinated people from a single household in the group, and the unvaccinated people are not at risk of severe COVID-19, then everyone can meet indoors and without masks or social distancing. For example, grandparents who are fully vaccinated may visit their unvaccinated grandchildren indoors and without masks, provided that none of the grandchildren are in an at-risk group.
In all other scenarios, masks, social distancing and ventilation should be used. This includes multi-household gatherings where some people are not fully vaccinated, even if none of the unvaccinated people are high-risk for severe COVID-19.
When in public, everyone should continue to wear masks, socially distance themselves, wash hands and, if possible, meet outside. Also, the CDC is not updating its travel recommendations at this time.
Isolation, Quarantine and Testing Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Employees
Fully vaccinated people are at low risk for contracting COVID-19. What they should do if they have been exposed to COVID-19 depends on whether they have symptoms, or live or work in high-density settings.
- If a fully vaccinated person is exposed to COVID-19 but does not experience any symptoms, then they do not need to quarantine or be tested. However, they should still monitor for symptoms.
- If a fully vaccinated person starts to develop COVID-19 symptoms at any point, then they should isolate themselves and be clinically evaluated by their healthcare provider for possible testing and treatment.
- Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings (such as those in group homes or correctional facilities) should continue to quarantine for 14 days and be tested if they have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID.
- Fully vaccinated employees of non-healthcare congregate settings or high-density workplaces (such as correctional officers or meat processing plant workers) do NOT need to quarantine if they do not have symptoms following potential COVID-19 exposure. However, testing and workplace screening programs are recommended.
Masks, social distancing, handwashing and ventilation remain recommended in all workplace settings.
If you have any questions about the CDC’s new Interim Guidelines on fully vaccinated people and how they impact you, please contact Rob Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.736.7240, Melissa Yasinow at email@example.com or 216.736.7205, or any of our Labor & Employment professionals.