The CDC quietly updated one page of its website about mRNA vaccines with some big news this past week.
That’s true. We still don’t know if you can spread the coronavirus after being vaccinated (it just hasn’t been studied yet), but the CDC is taking a gamble here. They think that a lot of transmission is pre-symptomatic (before you develop symptoms) rather than asymptomatic (without ever developing symptoms). Plus they think that the “individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine” may outweigh the possible but unknown risk of transmission.
No, it just means they don’t know how long the vaccine DOES protect someone. Early reports show much more than that. But we know that it does protect for at least 90 days. And the 90 day recommendation just aligns nicely with what the CDC is already saying to do for those who recovered from confirmed COVID and have developed “natural immunity" - those people can skip quarantine for 90 days if exposed, also. Sticking to 90 days for both types of immunity (post-COVID and post-vaccination) helps make guidelines clearer and simpler to follow
Yes. Even though the vaccine protects against the virus, some people may still get sick after being vaccinated. Most have significantly reduced severity and length of illness if they do get sick. So, fully vaccinated people who don’t quarantine should still watch for symptoms for 14 days after exposure, and if they get sick, should take all the same precautions as someone who wasn’t vaccinated. Anyone who is symptomatic, regardless of if they’re vaccinated, will need to be excluded.
We aren’t sure, but we think that the CDC may have just posted this prematurely or without consulting across all of the various working groups. As of Wednesday, Feb 10th at 5:30pm EST, the page called “Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States” was the only one that mentioned this.
There’s no reason to believe that this is only for mRNA vaccines, so the more likely situation is that this is just the first place they updated it. We expect to get more info in the next week or so.