(NewsNation Now) — People who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with the virus as long as they remain asymptomatic, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention advised.
The CDC issued new guidance Wednesday and laid down strict criteria for people who would no longer have to quarantine after the vaccinations, including having received both doses of a two-dose vaccine. The vaccinated person must meet all the criteria issued by the CDC in order to skip the quarantine.
The agency said the vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, thought to play a greater role in the transmission of the virus than asymptomatic disease.
“Individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission (among vaccinated individuals),” the CDC said.
People who choose not to quarantine should do so only if they received their last dose within three months, and should only avoid 14 days quarantine after their last shot, the time it takes to develop immunity, CDC said.
Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms for 14 days following exposure. The CDC also said people should still follow current CDC guidance like wearing a mask and social distancing to protect themselves and others.
The CDC said the updated criteria could be applied when considering work restrictions for healthcare personnel to alleviate staffing shortages.
Two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna Inc have been authorized for emergency use in the United States. Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency use authorization of its single-dose shot last week.
Nearly 66 million vaccine doses have been distributed, with roughly 44.7 million doses administered, according to the latest data from the CDC. There have been more than 27.2 million confirmed cases in the United States with 471,000 American fatalities from the virus.
Reuters contributed to this report.