On February 10, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued interim clinical guidance relating to the use of the COVID-19 vaccines. The full guidance can be found at this hyperlink: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
This guidance addresses a number of significant issues, including the following:
1. The lack of interchangeability between various COVID-19 vaccine products; and
2. The position that the need for and timing of booster doses for COVID-19 vaccines has not yet been established – and therefore no additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series are currently recommended; and
3. The position that COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered to individuals with evidence of a prior COVID-19 infection; and
4. The position that 16- and 17-year-old adolescents are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine but that those individuals younger than 16 are not authorized to receive the vaccine currently. However, adolescents younger than 18 years of age are not authorized to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine currently; and
5. A number of public health recommendations for vaccinated persons, which will be addressed further below.
With respect to the public health recommendations for vaccinated persons, the guidance in particular addresses the following significant elements:
a. COVID-19 vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to an individual with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if all of the following elements are met:
they are fully vaccinated (greater than or equal to 2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or greater than or equal to 2 weeks after receipt of one dose in a single-dose vaccine); and
they are within 3 months after receipt of the last dose in the series; and
they have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
b. While the guidance also states that the above quarantine criteria could be applied when considering work restrictions for fully vaccinated healthcare personnel with higher-risk exposures, the guidance is quite different for vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings. Specifically, the guidance states as follows:
“vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings should continue to quarantine following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.”
The guidance continues by noting the following:
“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.”
On February 11, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D. issued a statement that the quarantine requirements for New York residents who have received both COVID-19 vaccination shots will be updated to reflect the CDC’s new guidance as noted above. Despite this New York position, it is still clear that all residents of the state, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to engage in mask wearing, social distancing, and other recommended health measures. Here is a hyperlink to the statement: Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Updated CDC Guidance Eliminating Quarantine Requirement for Fully Vaccinated People Following Close Contact Exposure | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (ny.gov)
Our Firm has extensive experience counseling employers and businesses on issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions related to this Legal Briefing or questions related to COVID-19 reopening rules and procedures or vaccine issues, please contact any member of our Firm at 585-730-4773.
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This Legal Briefing is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. The substance of this Legal Briefing is not intended to cover all legal issues or developments regarding the matter. Please consult with an attorney to ascertain how these new developments may relate to you or your business. © 2021 Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC