CDC updated guidance on fully vaccinated people
On March 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To be considered fully vaccinated, at least two weeks must have passed since you received the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (in the U.S., this currently includes the vaccine produced by Pfizer or Moderna), or at least two weeks must have passed since you received the only dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (in the U.S., this currently includes the vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson).
Once you are fully vaccinated, the CDC states you now can:
- Gather with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
with unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask, unless anyone
in that household is at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
- This means grandparents who are fully vaccinated can spend time with unvaccinated grandchildren, as long as nobody in the unvaccinated household is at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
- Not be
required to quarantine if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, as long as
you do not develop any symptoms.
- However, UIC still requires that you report this exposure via the reporting decision tool and comply with any guidance from UIC contact tracing, such as the need to get tested.
While the vaccines offer great hope and a way out of the pandemic, it is still early days. There are still many questions yet to be answered about what activities vaccinated persons can and cannot do, as well as questions about the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines, to what extent they protect against the spread of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, and their efficacy against different variant strains. We anticipate receiving additional CDC guidance as vaccine rollout continues.
This means that for now, given what public health officials are still learning, even if you are fully vaccinated you still need to practice the following prevention behaviors in public, including when at UIC:
- Routine mask-wearing: masking is mandatory on UIC’s campus unless you are alone in a private office with the door closed; this does not apply to shared office spaces or cubicles, even if you are 6 feet from coworkers. If you remove your mask to eat, make sure you are greater than 6 feet from others and put your mask back on as soon as you finish eating.
- Please see the CDC’s guidance on improving how your mask functions. This guidance places increased emphasis on ensuring that masks fit snugly, including how to correctly double-mask should you choose to do so to improve mask performance.
- Physical distancing: you should practice physical distancing of 6 feet or greater with anyone who is not a member of your household, even if you are wearing a mask. This applies to trusted friends, family, and coworkers.
- Mandatory testing: UIC is expanding saliva testing capacity this semester with a dual-badging system which combines the health attestation (Healthcheck) with the testing compliance system (Daily Pass). This tool enables our campus to identify COVID-positive individuals who never have symptoms or before they develop symptoms, quickly isolate them, and quarantine any individuals they may have exposed.
- Being vaccinated does not exclude you from mandatory surveillance testing. In fact, your continued participation in saliva testing will help UIC’s public health experts learn more about breakthrough infection (when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19) and if those with a breakthrough infection can spread COVID-19 to others. Not only are you keeping the campus safe by saliva testing, you are also contributing to science!
- Reporting: if you experience symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, have a close contact exposure to someone with COVID-19, or travel out of state, please inform campus by using the UIC COVID-19 reporting decision tool.
In order to help us better protect our campus and contribute to answering the questions above, it is essential that every UIC citizen get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available to them. Getting as much of our campus vaccinated as possible is a key component of the public health effort to control COVID-19. Vaccination is safe and effective; if you have concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.