Should you get the vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19?
You’ve had COVID-19. Maybe last week, maybe last month, maybe you had it last year when the pandemic began. You’ve heard that you are immune to the virus now since you have been infected. But is that true? Should you get the vaccine when it becomes available to you? Infectious disease physician Divya Ahuja, MD, said it is recommended that you get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you have had the virus already.
“Our understanding of this virus continues to evolve on a daily basis, and this is what we know at present. Once you have had COVID-19 you will likely have immunity from reinfection for three months and possibly longer. There is limited data on how long the immunity lasts and if it is completely protective from the variant strains of the virus. We also know that both available COVID-19 vaccines are 95% efficacious, which means if you get the vaccine – whether you have had the virus or not – you are helping to build up your own immunity. Also, the more people who get the vaccine, the sooner we will build up herd immunity,” said Dr. Ahuja.
I received dose one of the vaccine and then got COVID-19. Now what?
Dr. Ahuja said you still need to get your second dose. However, you need to wait at least 14 days after your COVID-19 symptoms began or 14 days after your diagnosis before you go in for your second dose of the vaccine. If needed, you can wait up to 42 days before getting your second dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released additional information stating that if your second dose is received up to 42 days after the first dose it will be effective.
“At present it is recommended that once you start the vaccination process you get both doses of the same vaccine for it to be effective. If you have difficulty getting an appointment for your second dose, do not panic. There is a wide time frame in which to schedule your second dose appointment, and it can be up to 42 days after the first dose.” said Dr. Ahuja.
Remember, regardless of whether or not you have received the vaccine, continue to practice safety precautions. “Follow the science and its recommendations. Lead by example in getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do so. We all have to do our part and pass on the knowledge. That is what will eventually help find an end to this pandemic,” said Dr. Ahuja.