HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that it has updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for fully vaccinated individuals to align with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under the updated guidance, people who have had both doses of a two-dose vaccine, or one dose of a single dose vaccine, do not need to quarantine after an exposure to another person with COVID-19 if they meet all the following criteria:
- They are fully vaccinated (i.e., more than two weeks following receipt of the second dose in a two-dose series, or of one dose of a single-dose vaccine);
- They are within three months following receipt of the last dose in the series; and
- They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
This does not mean the vaccine is only effective for three months, but rather that it is unclear how long immunity from the vaccine will last. The CDC is utilizing what is known about natural post-infection immunity and limiting the quarantine guidance to 90 days at this time while additional research is conducted.
This guidance applies to the general population, including businesses, schools and some healthcare settings as a way to alleviate staffing shortages. It does not apply to patients or residents in healthcare settings. More information for healthcare settings about vaccinated healthcare workers and patients can be found here.
“We know that Pennsylvanians are eager to get vaccinated and be further protected from COVID-19,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As the CDC continues to update guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated, we will follow their lead. I want to stress, though, that regardless of vaccination status, individuals who are showing new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still need to isolate and be tested for COVID-19.”
Close contacts who have not been fully vaccinated, or who do not meet all of the above criteria, must follow existing quarantine guidance. More information on the guidance is included online in the PA Health Alert Network (PA-HAN) quarantine recommendations after COVID-19 vaccination update.
The department, along with the CDC, continues to discourage any nonessential travel, even for people who are fully vaccinated, because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, and how long the vaccine will protect against COVID-19 is not fully known. In addition, there are new circulating strains of COVID-19 in other states and countries that are being investigated, and vaccine effectiveness on these variant strains is not fully known.
The department continues to recommend COVID-19 prevention measures, regardless of vaccination status, such as masking, physical distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene.
While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:
- The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
- A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
- Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
- Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
- Frequently asked questions can be found here.