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Vaccinated people should get tested if exposed and symptomatic

If a person is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and is then exposed to a person with active COVID-19, should the exposed fully vaccinated person be tested? Would the test be valid?

— Larry

It really depends on whether the exposed individual is experiencing symptoms or not, Larry.

Let’s start with a baseline definition so we’re all on the same page. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, an individual is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after they have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after they have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With that in mind, if a fully vaccinated individual is exposed to a COVID-19 patient and then exhibits symptoms, they should “isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for SARS-CoV-2 if indicated,” the CDC website reads.

“The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their health care provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care,” the site adds.

That said, if that person is exposed and doesn’t show symptoms, they do not need to get tested or quarantine as a precaution.

“Fully vaccinated people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure,” CDC guidance says, adding that if symptoms do present, they should be evaluated, get tested and isolate.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to adhere to all other COVID-19 precautions, including wearing a mask, staying at least six feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often, Oregon Health Authority officials said.

As to the test’s accuracy, the OHA said that while no test is completely infallible, it’s still “recommended for individuals experiencing symptoms.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.