What If I Get COVID-19 Between Vaccine Doses?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two shots to get the most protection. But what happens if you get infected with COVID-19 between doses? Do you have to start over? Can you get the second dose at all? Have you missed your chance? For many people, these questions have become reality after the virus infects them during the period between receiving their first and second doses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, if you become infected with COVID-19 after your first shot, you do not need to restart the vaccine series. However, to limit exposing others to the virus, you must follow CDC guidelines and isolate for 10 days. The CDC states that data from clinical trials indicate that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given to people who have been infected with COVID-19. However, vaccination should be delayed until the person has recovered.
To best maximize the efficacy of the vaccine and to ensure an optimal effectiveness, it is recommended that you receive the second dose within the specified timeframe as directed by the manufacturer.
Is There A Time Limit?
The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not realistic to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should ideally be given up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There is currently limited data on the effectiveness of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window of time. If it has already been six weeks you should get the vaccine as soon as you are able.
What If I Already Had COVID-19?
If you have already had COVID-19 prior to receiving any COVID-19 vaccine and you have recovered, you should still get vaccinated. There is not enough information currently available to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. To stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available, which includes the immunization, social distancing, proper hand hygiene and wearing masks.
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The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.