On January 11, 2021 the NH Division of Public Health Services announced a Vaccination Allocation Plan and the Quarantine Guidance Update.
This article focuses on the changes and updates to quarantine procedures. At this time the vaccine is not available to the general public. To reduce morbidity and mortality the vaccine is prioritized for those who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications, or those who are at risk for spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable populations. We still must keep our guard up even though a vaccine has been created.
The quarantine guidance for people who are fully vaccinated or previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 is updated and the following people do not need to quarantine after an unprotected exposure to a person with COVID-19 or after travel outside New England:
- A person who is 14 days beyond the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine (14 days after full vaccination)
- A person who is within 90 days of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosed by PCR or antigen testing.
Regardless of prior infection or vaccination status, any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still needs to isolate and be evaluated for COVID-19 testing.
The NH DPHS and the CDC continue to discourage any non-essential travel even for people fully vaccinated or previously infected because the vaccine has a few caveats.
- Vaccine protection and effectiveness is not 100%
- Durability of immunity is still unknown
- There are new circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 in other states and countries that are under investigation.
It remains possible that people who are fully vaccinated or previously infected could still acquire asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, or a milder COVID-19 strain. People who are fully vaccinated or previously infected need to continue to practice physical distancing, avoid social groups and gatherings, and wear face masks at all times when in public places and facilities.
From this update we can clearly see we still need to be vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. We cannot let our guard down despite vaccinations or prior infections. Vaccinations do not take away the need to continue what we have been doing to stay safe. New information is gathered everyday regarding COVID-19 and we are learning more about this virus. There will definitely be more changes to come.
Please continue to reach out to us with any questions regarding COVID-19.