Currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. However, further investigation is ongoing and includes gathering evidence on how long vaccine protection lasts and the efficacy of the vaccines against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus. Vaccinated people could potentially still get COVID-19 and spread it to others. However, the benefits of relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements and reducing social isolation may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to others.
These recommendations are adapted from the following CDC guidelines: Interim Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated Persons, Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination, and Travel During COVID-19 (Domestic and International). These recommendations apply to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. These recommendations will be updated as additional information, including regarding the ability of currently authorized vaccines to protect against infection with novel variants and the effectiveness of additional authorized vaccines, becomes available.
A person is considered fully vaccinated >2 weeks following the receipt* of:
* Considerations for applying this guidance to vaccines that are not FDA-authorized include whether the vaccine product has received emergency approval from the World Health Organization or authorization from a national regulatory agency.
Persons who are not fully vaccinated must continue to quarantine after close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case. See LAC DPH Quarantine Guidelines.
Per CDC, this recommendation for continued quarantine of fully vaccinated inpatients/residents in healthcare settings is due to limited information about vaccine effectiveness in this population, the higher risk of severe disease and death, and challenges with physical distancing in healthcare settings.
Note: healthcare facilities may consider waiving quarantine for fully vaccinated patients and residents as a strategy to address critical issues (e.g., lack of space, staff, or PPE to safely care for exposed patients or residents) when other options are unsuccessful or unavailable. These decisions should be made infection control experts.
Per CDC, this recommendation for continued quarantine of fully vaccinated residents is because residential congregate settings may face high turnover of residents, a higher risk of transmission, and challenges in maintaining recommended physical distancing.
Exceptions to quarantine in these settings may be made for specific situations such as family visitation for juveniles and out-to-court travel.
Refer to setting-specific guidelines or protocols for more information.
* The CDC suggests that healthcare facilities consider continuing work restrictions for fully vaccinated HCP after higher risk exposures if they have an underlying immunocompromising condition (e.g., organ transplant, cancer treatment). The CDC rationale is that the condition which might impact the level of protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccine. However, data on which immunocompromising conditions might affect response to the COVID-19 vaccine and the magnitude of risk are not available.
*The CDC recommends that international travelers, including those that are fully vaccinated, get a viral test 3-5 days post travel.
Refer to LAC DPH Travel Advisory and Guidance for details.