It’s a frustrating, confusing, but fortunately rare question employees are having to ask; I’m vaccinated, why did I test positive? 

While the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent the most harmful types of illness, it may not prevent all infections.  A home care employee who has no symptoms at all may test positive for COVID-19, even without any known exposure.  In addition, some of the instant or antigen tests may give a false positive reading. 

When a vaccinated person tests positive, it’s important to consider what kind of test was given, and why.  The CDC recommends against testing of vaccinated employees in most circumstances, especially when the employee has no symptoms. 

If a fully vaccinated employee does test positive, that employee should consider the test to be “true”, at least until another PCR test is taken and is negative.   That means a fully vaccinated employee may need to self-isolate for 10 days since the first test was taken.  

If the second test is negative, the employee may be able to return to work, with local health department approval. 

If an employee develops symptoms, that employee should self isolate for 10 days since the onset of those symptoms. 

Other important considerations (and reasons to get vaccinated), include that that fully vaccinated employees do not need to self-isolate or be tested even when exposed to COVID-19, as long as they don’t have symptoms.  Fully vaccinated clients also do not need to be tested nor self-isolate if they are exposed to a home care employee who tests positive. A client only needs to self-isolate or test (with a PCR test preferably), if the client develops symptoms. 

The current vaccines are showing to be effective in reducing illness from the Delta variant, the strain of COVID-19 that is currently dominant in California.  There are always “breakthrough” cases, however, as the vaccines are not 100% effective. 

If you haven’t been vaccinated, I urge you to consider the fact that I have, my sons have, and most of my friends have been vaccinated.  I even convinced my husband, who barely takes Advil, to finally sign up for the two step Pfizer vaccine.  We are all fine, despite a sore arm and some fatigue in the days after the second shot for a few of us.  Plus we can rest assured that none of us will have to self isolate, except in the very rare circumstance that we show symptoms and then test positive with a PCR test for COVID-19.