This is the best news about the COVID-19 vaccine yet

Quarantine just got a lot easier for vaccinated people.

If someone has received a COVID-19 vaccine and is fully vaccinated, they no longer are subjected to quarantine at home if they are exposed to someone who has the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced.

In an updated memo released on Feb. 10, the CDC said that fully vaccinated persons that have been exposed to someone suspected or confirmed with the coronavirus, they no longer are required to quarantine if they meet a specific criteria, which contains three checkpoints:

  • The person must be fully vaccinated (More than two weeks following second dosage, or the same timeline for those with a single-dose vaccine).
  • The person has remained asymptomatic since the COVID-19 exposure.
  • If exposed to someone with the virus, the vaccinated party must have received their injections within a three-month window.

“Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19,” the CDC said.

While self-imposed quarantine might be out of the question, the CDC said that vaccinated persons should continue to follow guidelines to protect themselves and others from the virus, which includes continued mask-wearing, social distancing (at least 6-feet away from others), avoiding crowds or large gatherings, and avoiding poorly ventilated spaces.

The vaccine shouldn’t let those vaccinated retreat to old habits, as the organization said that coughs and sneezes should continued to be covered, and frequent hand-washing should still occur.

The CDC said vaccinated persons should remain vigilant regarding symptoms in the event they are exposed to someone with the COVID-19.

“Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing, if indicated,” they said. “In addition, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including all other SARS-CoV-2 testing recommendations and requirements, and state, territorial, tribal, and local travel recommendations or requirements.”

While the new measure lifts quarantine restrictions for some, it’s not extended to all. Vaccinated people in hospitals or living at nursing homes will have to continue to quarantine if they suspect they have been exposed to the virus, the CDC said.

“Although not preferred, healthcare facilities could consider waiving quarantine for vaccinated patients and residents as a strategy to mitigate critical issues (e.g., lack of space, staff, or PPE to safely care for exposed patients or residents) when other options are unsuccessful or unavailable. These decisions could be made in consultation with public health officials and infection control experts,” said the memo.

Nearly 11% of the US’ population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC. About 3.4% of the population has both doses.