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Self-isolation removed for double jabbed close contacts

Adults and children will be free to return to work, attend school, and meet friends and family as the protection from vaccines replaces the need for contact isolation from Monday 15th August.

  • Instead of self-isolating, those who are double jabbed and under 18s identified as close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases are advised to get a free PCR test as soon as possible
  • Protection from remarkable vaccine rollout allows more freedoms, with over three quarters of adults now double jabbed

From Monday 16 August, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap. With 75% of people having received both doses of the vaccine, the majority of adults will no longer need to self-isolate if they are contacts.

These changes can be made next week as a result of the remarkable success of the UK’s vaccine programme, with over three quarters of UK adults now double jabbed. The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.

As of Monday, double jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.

As double jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.

Double vaccinated adults will no longer be required to self-isolate from Monday, as long as they received their final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine in the UK vaccination programme at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Asking the close contacts of people with COVID-19 to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control, and millions of people across the UK have made enormous sacrifices by doing this. Every single one of these sacrifices has helped us protect the NHS and save lives.

Getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms, and from Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives by removing self-isolation requirements for double jabbed people who are contacts of people with COVID-19. Double jabbed people who test positive will still need to self-isolate.

Vaccines are what will bring this pandemic to an end – the wall of defence provided by the rollout is allowing us to get even closer to normal life. If you haven’t already, please make sure you come forward for your jab at the earliest opportunity.

The vaccine previously allowed critical workers to leave self-isolation to ensure vital services continued. The changes introduced on 16 August will mean that, with some additional precautions for health and care settings, fully vaccinated contacts will routinely be able to attend work if they do not have symptoms.

Regular testing remains critical to controlling the virus as restrictions ease. Anyone with symptoms should take a PCR test to find out if they have the virus and to allow new variants to be detected. Alongside PCR testing for anyone with symptoms or who is a close contact, everyone in England is encouraged to take up the government’s offer of free, twice weekly rapid testing to find additional cases among people who do not have symptoms.

To see the full press release go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-removed-for-double-jabbed-close-contacts-from-16-august    

HM government press release for guidance and support for Coronavirus dated 12th August 2021