People make their way down the aisle at the Farmers Market in Irvine Regional Park on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 in Irvine, CA. Restrictions are lifted at most businesses, and Californians fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can go without masks in most settings.
Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
If you’re vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19, most of the experts Insider spoke to said you don’t need to worry unless you have symptoms.
You should get tested if you’re symptomatic, but some experts say to get tested after any exposure.
If you’re sick, stay away from others – even if it’s not COVID.
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So your roommate has a cold.
You both got vaccinated months ago, yet every time you hear a cough from the next room, you can’t help but wonder if you should get tested for COVID.
Most public health experts would say you’re in the clear – probably not sick and probably not infectious – unless you start to feel symptoms. (Your ailing roommate, however, should get tested.)
Although the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, “breakthrough” infections are occurring in fully vaccinated people. It might feel like a bad cold, or carry no symptoms at all.
The Delta variant has increased the odds of such an infection, but there are plenty of other viruses going around, Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Insider.
The only way to know for sure is to get tested. But if your roommate’s test comes back positive for COVID-19, what do you do?
Get tested if you develop cold-like symptoms
If you develop a cough, congestion, or a loss of taste and smell after a known exposure, you should get tested regardless of your vaccination status.
Start with a rapid antigen test. In studies, rapid tests were about 72% effective at identifying COVID-19 in symptomatic people and correctly ruled out COVID for about 99.5% of people who had symptoms for other reasons.
You can also take a rapid test at home. They’re more accurate if you get tested every few days, so if you’re initially negative, you might want to test again to be sure. You could also follow up with a PCR test that looks for other viruses as well, Adalja added.
“You also have to remember that now that many people are socially interacting, other viruses have come back – things like rhinovirus and seasonal coronaviruses – so there are other causes of cold-like symptoms,” Adalja said.
If you don’t have symptoms, many experts say you’re probably in the clear
The CDC recommend vaccinated people get tested or quarantine only if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
If you’re symptom-free for more than a week after an exposure, you can relax, according to Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“The only time you should get tested if you’re fully vaccinated is if you’re symptomatic, no matter what the exposure,” Adalja said.
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Source:: Business Insider