Do fully vaccinated people still have to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure?

It depends, but that’s likely to change as we learn more

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines as it learns more about the new vaccines and new strains. The CDC’s recommendations can evolve as fast as new information is available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines as it learns more about the new vaccines and new strains. The CDC’s recommendations can evolve as fast as new information is available.

People still have a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge is working to answer as many as possible.

READ: More answers to COVID-19 questions

Since the vaccines started to roll out, thousands of viewers have sent in questions about the shots specifically.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines as it learns more about the new vaccines and new strains. The CDC’s recommendations can evolve as fast as new information is available.

“Why do people who have been vaccinated three months ago have to watch for symptoms and quarantine if they come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?”

According to the latest CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated people are not required to quarantine after an exposure if they meet all of the following criteriaL

  • Are fully vaccinated
  • Within 3 months of receiving last dose
  • Remained asymptomatic since COVID exposure

On the surface, the three-month limit may sound bizarre, but the goal is to protect as many people as possible based on the imperfect information we have right now. As we learn more, the guidelines will be revised.

The three month time frame comes from estimates of how long protection lasts after a natural infection.

READ: CDC: When to Quarantine

We don’t know exactly how long the vaccines will protect people -- it may be much longer than three months -- but only time will tell. For now, the guidance is three months.

The participants in the original studies that were used to get the emergency use authorization are more than three months out from their vaccinations, so follow-up data is expected to become available soon on how long immunity lasts.

One thing we do know is that the vaccines are preventing people from dying or becoming severely ill with COVID-19 and that definitely makes it worthwhile.

MORE: Questions about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Ask Dr. McGeorge

Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge


About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.