CDC Issues First Set of Guidance for Activities of Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Regulation | March 08, 2021 | by Jodi Eyigor

CDC released the first set of public health recommendations for the visitation activities of fully vaccinated individuals.

CDC released today the first set of public health recommendations to guide visitation activities of fully vaccinated individuals. These recommendations offer flexibility from the public health recommendations we have been living under since the beginning of the global pandemic nearly one year ago. These recommendations apply to fully vaccinated individuals outside of healthcare settings. Updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals in healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living and inpatient hospice, is expected soon.

For the purposes of this guidance, “fully vaccinated” means that it has been at least 2 weeks since the final dose in a COVID-19 vaccination series. In other words, 2 weeks have passed since the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 weeks have passed since administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals who have received only one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or for whom it has been fewer than 2 weeks since the final dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, are not considered fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated individuals in a private setting, such as a private home, may:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors in a small group without masking or social distancing.
  • Visit with non-vaccinated individuals from a single household indoors without masking or social distancing, provided none of the non-vaccinated individuals or their household members are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing* after exposure to COVID-19, provided the vaccinated individual remains asymptomatic.

*We believe that this testing exemption is not meant to exempt healthcare workers in a nursing home or other healthcare setting from required testing related to outbreak or routine staff testing. CDC states that this guidance is not meant to apply to individuals in healthcare settings. Additionally, CDC states that fully vaccinated individuals should continue to follow guidance issued by individual employers.

Fully vaccinated individuals should continue to:

  • Wear well-fitted masks and social distance when in public, when visiting with non-vaccinated individuals who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and when visiting with non-vaccinated individuals from multiple households.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if they show symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

CDC notes that travel recommendations and guidance is not being revised at this time. CDC continues to recommend avoiding non-essential travel. Fully vaccinated individuals who choose to travel should continue to quarantine following travel according to CDC recommendations and any state/local requirements or public health recommendations.

What This Means for Members

As noted, the guidance describes activities individuals may engage in in a private setting. This guidance is not intended for individuals in a healthcare setting, such as a nursing home, so it does not change nursing home visitation guidance. This guidance is also not thought to change testing requirements for healthcare personnel in nursing homes. We know that CDC and CMS have been working to review long-term care guidance and we expect to see updated guidance for these settings soon.

For member providers who are not considered “healthcare settings”, such as senior housing, adult day, home health, or the independent living sections of a Life Plan Community, CDC has said previously that these settings may follow public health recommendations or more restrictive healthcare setting guidance. When making these decisions, CDC advises taking into considerations the risks of the individuals in your community including underlying medical conditions, multiple comorbidities, and other factors that put individuals at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

Regardless, fully vaccinated individuals working in these settings would still be subject to any guidance issued by the individual’s employers, including guidance related to testing. As it relates to quarantine, if the setting is considered a congregate setting, such as a group home, CDC recommends that these individuals continue to quarantine for 14 days after exposure regardless of vaccination status.