There’s a lot more evidence about the protection that vaccines provide because they’ve been carefully studied in controlled environments. We know that the immune response from vaccines protects against COVID for at least six months and likely longer - we’ll continue to learn more as more people get vaccinated and participate in research. For COVID+ people, antibody levels are much more varied and inconsistent. Some people might have lots of protection, others might be more vulnerable. So for those who aren’t yet fully vaccinated but previously had COVID, the CDC says they’re protected for 90 days. Beyond that time window, they’ll need to self-quarantine because we can’t be sure if they’re protected or not. For those fully vaccinated, they’re protected for now without a time limit, and we’ll likely learn more about booster shots in the coming months.
If all of the COVID exposures were 14 or more days ago, there’s no need to do work exclusions now, unless they were exposed again more recently. Instead, we’d recommend making sure you’re doing very good daily employee wellness checks and auditing to make sure every single employee is doing them before every single shift. If no one else is sick, you’re likely in the clear. If others are sick, you should do the appropriate contact tracing and ensure anyone with symptoms stays home.
They need to keep that information confidential, although those who are unmasked will be self-identifying as vaccinated. But it’s important that managers don’t start coercing unvaccinated people once they've been identified. We recommend discussing this with your counsel, as it’s a complicated legal issue.
While there were some reports that they may just not issue any specific COVID guidance at all, our sources have indicated that new guidance has been drafted and then modified in light of new mask recommendations from the CDC. It should be issued within two weeks, apparently. We’ll all be keeping a close eye on this, and expect it to influence state OSHAs, as well. Recently, OSHA’s website was updated, saying: “The [CDC] has issued new guidance relating to recommended precautions for people who are fully vaccinated, which is applicable to activities outside of healthcare and a few other environments. OSHA is reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update our materials on this website accordingly. Until those updates are complete, please refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers.”
Not yet. The rate of vaccinations is still decreasing drastically with less than two million doses administered per day, down from more than four million per day back in April. And while there are promising stats floating around, like the fact that nearly 60% of US adults have at least one dose, there are major caveats to that - like the fact that some people aren’t returning for dose two, or that those vaccination rates aren’t consistent. While nearly half of Maine is fully vaccinated, less than 30% of Utah is vaccinated. Plus, those numbers look a lot lower when we look only at those between 18 and 65, the majority of the workforce.