As of early this week, more than 5,500 Pacificans had at least one COVID-19 vaccination. What is next for vaccinated residents?

San Mateo County has not yet released its full guidance for vaccinated people, but Public Information Officer Preston Merchant said it’s forthcoming. For now, the county’s website warns about the potential risks of spreading the virus even after being vaccinated, telling residents to keep up with current health precautions.

“Even after vaccination, you should continue to follow all of the guidelines from the state and the county,” a county Frequently Asked Questions section reads.

That includes staying at home as much as possible, isolating if you’re sick or have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, wearing a mask, washing your hands and maintaining social distancing.

This guidance is in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health. Both say that continuing safety precautions is important because it’s not yet clear if the vaccines, which are around 95 percent effective against symptomatic disease, prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Plus, there’s still not enough information about whether vaccines are fully effective against new variants.

The CDC updated its guidance last week. It recommends that people who were vaccinated two or more weeks ago but no more than three months ago don’t have to quarantine if they come into contact with someone with COVID-19 but have no symptoms.

California’s Health Department has followed suit with its recommendations, advising fully vaccinated people to still watch for symptoms and get tested if they emerge.

So far, that’s the only exception being made for vaccinated people. Local, state and federal health leaders say their advice takes into consideration uncertainty around the vaccine’s effectiveness against variants, how long the protection lasts and whether it actually prevents infection or just severe symptoms.

“We don't have data to prove that having the vaccine can prevent you from getting infected and transmitting the disease at this time,” Stanford University Associate Professor of Medicine Holly Tabor said at a recent Stanford Health event. “... Like a lot of things in the pandemic, there are still a lot of unknowns. Until we know, I think it’s important that we exercise caution.”

Stanford Pediatrics Professor Grace Lee agreed, and said she’s hopeful more information is coming soon.

“Our colleagues at the CDC are working specifically on this question to be able to try and find some answers to this,” Lee said. “... But just from a clinical perspective, you would anticipate that if (the vaccine) protects us against severe disease, it probably protects us against having a high viral load, which probably reduces our transmission.

“So, we can infer that there probably is some protection, we just don’t know how much or if it’s as good as 95 percent,” she said.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any of the virus itself. They cannot infect anyone with COVID-19. Experts are also recommending that people get the same vaccine for both doses and follow the three- or four-week interval schedule as closely as possible. People who have recovered from COVID-19 should also get vaccinated, according to public health leaders.

For more information about the two vaccines and local guidelines, visit

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories

  • 0

The hearing on the preliminary injunction brought by three advocacy organizations against the city of Pacifica challenging the constitutionality of the RV overnight parking ban ordinance occurs virtually at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 27, in the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria…

  • 0

The state fire agency announced Thursday morning it would suspend all burn permits and outdoor burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties effective immediately in response to dry conditions and increased fire danger.

  • 0

Processing delays and the fact that many on the coast pay their rent under the table have plagued a state program that has only doled out a fraction of the $70 million set aside to help San Mateo County residents pay their rent in the midst of a devastating pandemic.

  • 0

Many local business owners were hurt by pandemic restrictions that kept customers away from their businesses. The city’s Economic Development Committee came up with a way to help.

  • 0

The Fair Political Practices Commission requires candidates for office to file campaign disclosure statements in paper with original signatures. In Pacifica, that has meant a lot of paperwork for City Clerk Sarah Coffey. But on May 10, the City Council approved a way for candidates to file e…

Recommended for you