US public health officials have advised that people who have taken the full course of the Covid-19 vaccine no longer have to quarantine for 14 days after being exposed to someone with the virus as long as they stay asymptomatic.
On Wednesday, the CDC said the vaccines were shown to prevent symptomatic Covid-19, which is thought to play a greater role than an asymptomatic disease in transmitting the virus.
Anthony Fauci said he expects the rate of vaccination to increase significantly by April.
The CDC said, “Individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission (among vaccinated individuals).”
“By the time we get to April,” it will be “open season, namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.”
The CDC suggests that vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks, exercise social distancing, and avoid poorly ventilated environments and crowds. This is because there is still little evidence on whether the vaccine can prevent infection and how long it offers protection against the virus.
These guidelines could shift as more study data on the transmission is published, and more individuals are vaccinated.
The agency has set specific guidelines for people who will no longer have to quarantine following vaccines, including having received all doses of a two-dose vaccine.
The CDC said people who prefer not to quarantine could only do so if they have received their last dose within three months and should only prevent quarantine within 14 days of their last injection–the time it takes for immunity to build.
Completely vaccinated people who are not in quarantine can continue to check for symptoms for 14 days after exposure.
Also, the department recommends that in-patients and long-term care home residents be quarantined following exposure to Covid-19 because there is less evidence on the efficacy of the vaccine in this population and the high risk of infection and death.
Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc’s two-dose vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the United States. Last week, Johnson & Johnson applied for US approval for its single-dose shot.
The CDC claimed that its loosened quarantine guidelines only apply to people vaccinated with these two products, as vaccinations available in other countries have not been routinely tested.