CDC: Continue to take COVID-19 precautions after being vaccinated

People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help protect themselves and others and stop the pandemic, according to the CDC.

"What does this mean for dental settings regarding all the protocols that have been put in place since dentists have returned to work? This is not the time to relax any rules — at least not yet," said Duc "Duke" Ho, D.D.S., chair of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Practice.

The risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from a vaccinated person to others is still uncertain, but vaccination has been demonstrated to prevent symptomatic COVID-19.Symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission is thought to have a greater role in transmission than purely asymptomatic transmission, according to the CDC.

"None of the currently available EUA vaccines are 100% effective," Dr. Ho said. "The lack of 100% immunity plus uncertainty about transmission means that, even if the whole office has been vaccinated, it is still important to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, watch your distance and wash your hands, even when there are not patients present in the office. Until more is known, it is recommended that all office staff continue to follow all the guidelines that were put in place for the practice pre-vaccination."

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when it has been at least two weeks since they received the second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. In its COVID-19 vaccination FAQ and interim clinical considerations for vaccine use, the CDC recommends fully vaccinated individuals continue to:

  • Wear a mask over their nose and mouth.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash their hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Follow CDC travel guidance.
  • Follow any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to PPE use or SARS-CoV-2 testing.

"It's important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions," the CDC states.

One recent change to CDC recommendations that will affect dental offices, Dr. Ho said, is that people who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine after being exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 if they have remained asymptomatic since the exposure, according to the CDC. As of March 8, the CDC no longer says the exposure needs to be within three months of when they received their last vaccine dose for this guidance to apply.

"Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC's recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19," the CDC states.

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