OSHA Reviews CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently reviewing new COVID-19 related guidance for fully vaccinated people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency plans to update their guidance materials on their dedicated COVID-19 webpage after the review. In the meantime, they are referring employers to the CDC guidance for information on appropriate measures for protecting fully vaccinated workers. 

 

Updated CDC Guidance 

 

The CDC updated its guidance on May 16 to allow for fully vaccinated people to forgo a mask or physical distancing unless required by laws, rules, or regulations — including restrictions set by businesses and workplaces. These new recommendations do not apply to healthcare settings.

The CDC notes that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final required shot. However, they note, it’s still important to watch out for symptoms of the virus, especially for those who have been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home and away from others. 

The new guidance also listed what the CDC is still studying and learning about the vaccine: 

  • How effective the vaccines are against different variants of the virus — early data shows that the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others. 
  • How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications.
  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

 

What’s Missing: Guidance for Workplace Exposure 

 

The National Employment Law Project criticized the new guidance in a May 18 statement for “failing to address” workplace exposure. 

“The new guidance neglects to specify the mitigation measures needed to protect workers in workplaces where large numbers of both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals work in enclosed spaces – including meatpacking, grocery stores, warehouses and food processing – where large numbers of workers have been infected and outbreaks continue to occur,” NELP says.

OSHA may choose to include specialized guidance for fully vaccinated workers. Stay tuned to learn more.

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