When to get vaccinated if you've already had COVID-19

Covid Vaccine Protocol
Posted at 3:53 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 21:44:17-05

If the vaccine is available to you right now but you've had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, should you still get the shot right away?

Dr. Stephen Feagins, medical director of Hamilton County Public Health, said you're naturally protected for at least 90 days after getting COVID-19.

"If you want to wait, perhaps to let others go ahead, you can,” Feagins said.

Even if you have had the virus, Suzi Francis, supervisor of ambulatory pharmacy at St. Elizabeth, said you should get vaccinated.

"Outside of that 90 day period, when you're eligible, you certainly should get the vaccine, though, because we know you can get reinfected from COVID,” Francis said.

According to the CDC, current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Meaning people with a recent infection can delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period.

With a limited number of vaccines, some people who've already had COVID-19 may opt to let others go before them.

But who should definitely wait at least 90 days? Feagins said anyone treated with convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies.

"We're not sure of what optimum antibody production would be for having actually received antibodies, and the potential for interference, while theoretical, could be real," Feagins said.

According to health experts, previous COVID-19-positive patients still need to get vaccinated, because the body’s natural immunity is not as strong with fighting off the virus.

"Just knowing that natural immunity is good, it's our body's normal response after getting COVID, but it's not enough in this case,” Francis said. “So we definitely need to make sure that we're getting vaccinated, whether you've had COVID-19 or not.”