New Mexico is near the top when it comes to vaccinating its residents against coronavirus. As more and more people get vaccinated and restrictions on gatherings and businesses ease, what should those who are vaccinated do—or not do?
With Santa Fe County moving into the green this week, and Torrance and Bernalillo counties both yellow, restrictions are easing, students are returning to school, and the state is prioritizing vaccination of teachers.
Vaccination clinics are happening steadily across New Mexico. As people start to think about how to return to normalcy, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued guidelines this week.
A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit Covid to others, the CDC said.
How long vaccine protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against emerging coronavirus variants is still unknown. Until more is known and vaccination coverage increases, some prevention measures will continue to be necessary, regardless of vaccination status.
The benefits of reducing social isolation and relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements may outweigh the risk of vaccinated people becoming ill with Covid-19 or transmitting it to others, according to the CDC.
Additionally, taking steps towards relaxing certain measures for vaccinated people may help improve Covid-19 vaccine acceptance, the CDC says. There are several activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others.
In public spaces, fully vaccinated people should continue to follow guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a well-fitted mask, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance.
Fully vaccinated people should still watch for symptoms of Covid-19, especially following an exposure to someone who is infected. If symptoms develop, all people—regardless of vaccination status— should isolate and be clinically evaluated for Covid-19 and get a test, the CDC advises.
Visits or small gatherings are likely a minimal risk to fully vaccinated people.
Medium- or large-sized gatherings and those including people who haven’t been vaccinated or from multiple households increases the risk of transmission. Though the risk of disease may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves, they should be mindful of their potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected again.
Fully vaccinated people should not visit or attend a gathering if they have tested positive for Covid-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status of the other people at the gathering.
Indoor visits between fully vaccinated people who do not wear masks or physically distance from one another are likely low risk.
Indoor visits between fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people who do not wear masks or physically distance from one another are likely low risk for the vaccinated people.
If unvaccinated people are from a single household that does not have high-risk individuals, they can visit with fully vaccinated people indoors, without anyone wearing masks, with a low risk of transmission.
If any of the unvaccinated people or their household members are high risk, all attendees should take precautions including wearing a well-fitted mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and visiting outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.
If the unvaccinated people come from multiple households, there is a higher risk transmission among them.
And the CDC recommends all people involved should take precautions including wearing a well-fitted mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and visiting outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.
Fully vaccinated people with no Covid-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be tested.
Fully vaccinated employees of non-healthcare congregate settings and other high-density workplaces with no Covid symptoms do not need to quarantine following an exposure; however testing following an exposure and through routine workplace screening programs (if present) is still recommended by the CDC.
For more on these guidelines, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.