Local experts weigh in on why those who get the COVID-19 vaccine still need to social distance, wear masks


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — New quarantine guidance was issued this week by the CDC for individuals who have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Medina COVID-19 vaccine.

The guidance stated that two weeks after a patient, second dose of the vaccine, they no longer needed to quarantine after a COVID exposure.

However, according to local experts, vaccinated individuals should still follow coronavirus precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing.

“We don’t have enough people vaccinated at this point where we can ease up on those precautions,” shared Lewis County Public Health Director Ashley Waite. “I know we’re a year into COVID and we’ve learned a lot about the virus, but we’re continuing to learn more about the virus and continuing to learn more about the vaccine.

Waite added, “So until we have all of that data and mostly until more individuals are vaccinated, we’d still need to wear a mask and do social distancing.”

And as the North country nears the one-year mark of fighting the coronavirus, Waite reminded all to remain diligent and applauded the sacrifices made throughout the past year.

And as the North country nears, the one-year Mark of fighting the coronavirus, wait, reminded all to remain diligent and applauded the sacrifices made throughout the past year.

“We’ve made a lot of progress. Our infection rates are down, which is great. I would just caution people to continue to take those precautions. Our infection rates are down because we have done that. I commend our community for all of the sacrifices that they’ve made, that we’ve all made over this past year,” concluded Waite.

The new quarantine guidance released by the CDC guidance is outlined below.

Fully vaccinated Lewis County residents with an exposure to someone with suspected or
confirmed COVID-19 or who have traveled within the US, will not be required to quarantine if
they meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • They are fully vaccinated at the time of their exposure or before they travel, meaning at least 14 days have passed since their second dose of the COVID 19 vaccine;
  • They are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series at the time of their exposure;
  • They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure and;
  • Their vaccination status can be verified in the New York State Immunization Information System

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