This morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out its first set of public health recommendations for people who have been fully vaccinated. This guidance can help provide direction not only to vaccinated individuals in their personal actions, but may also help guide employers in how to safely incorporate vaccinated individuals back into the workplace.
For the purposes of the guidance, a person is considered “fully vaccinated” after it has been at least two weeks after that person received the second dose in a 2-dose series (currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine) or at least two weeks after that person received a single-dose vaccine (the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine).
Under the new recommendations, fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing; and
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic (unless employed in a high-density workplace, such as a correctional and detention facility, group home, or meat processing or manufacturing plant).
However, the CDC still recommends that fully vaccinated people take precautions like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing when in public or while visiting unvaccinated people who have an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
For employers, this may sound like a free pass for fully vaccinated employees to return to work as normal, but caution should still be exercised. The CDC specifically states that fully vaccinated people should follow previous guidance while in public spaces, including following any applicable workplace guidance.
Until updated, employers must still follow the requirements under Oregon’s Executive Orders, Oregon OSHA’s rules, and OHA guidance. Any changes to an employer’s COVID-19 protocols should be done with the advice of counsel.
However, employers should consider revising their Infection Control Plan and Exposure Risk Assessment to allow for fully vaccinated individuals with no COVID-like symptoms to avoid quarantine or testing following exposure (note that testing is still recommended if employed in a high-density workplace).
For help with revising Infection Control Plans and Exposure Risk Assessments, or for any questions regarding COVID-19 guidance, contact Wilson Jarrell at (503) 276-2181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.