CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As vaccinations rise, health officials in the Carolinas have noted that testing levels have dropped. They attribute most of this to reduced viral spread in the community, but they are hoping that people who need to be tested are still doing so.
So, are vaccinated people part of this group?
Lots of people online have been talking about forgoing COVID-19 tests after getting vaccinated and celebrating never having to take a test again after getting their shots. But is this sentiment in line with official guidance?
Are vaccinated people exempt from COVID-19 testing requirements?
It depends, but being fully vaccinated does not exempt a person from every testing situation.
Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, North Carolina's State Health Director, says it largely comes down to symptoms.
"People who are fully vaccinated, which means you're at least 14 days after your last dose, if you have any symptoms of COVID, you should still get tested," Tilson said. "People who are fully vaccinated, if they have close contact and no symptoms, then they don't need to get tested."
Lack of symptoms after exposure can also exempt a fully vaccinated person from quarantine requirements.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds the public that lack of symptoms for a vaccinated person only goes so far, and there could be additional testing requirements in certain situations and certain areas.
For example, it says if a person were to travel internationally and try to return home, they would still have to test to re-enter the country, regardless of vaccination status.