What if I get COVID-19 before getting the 1st or 2nd dose of the vaccine?

People are wondering how long they need to wait to get the vaccine if they’ve had COVID-19

FILE - (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File) (Matias Delacroix, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – Many people are understandably anxious to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but with cases surging right now, some people end up getting COVID before they can get the first or second dose.

So, how long does a person who has had the new coronavirus need to wait to get the vaccine? And what happens if you get sick with COVID in between getting the first and second doses of the virus?

Those are some of the commonly asked questions from KSAT viewers and we got answers from Bexar County Metro Health officials, UT Health infectious disease expert Ruth Berggren and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you get COVID-19, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get it again, and therefore, it’s recommended that you still get the vaccine.

Guidance from the CDC: “Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.”

The CDC says you should wait 90 days to get the vaccine if you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma.

Metro Health recommends that anyone who has had COVID-19 wait 90 days even if they didn’t get those treatments because your body will have created antibodies that should fight the disease if you were exposed again within that time frame and those same antibodies might also fight the vaccine.

But what if you’ve had the first shot of the vaccine and then get sick with COVID-19 before you’ve had the second dose?

Health experts say, you still need to get that second dose.

If you are scheduled to get the booster while you are actively sick, you will need to reschedule for when you’re feeling better.

“We never give people immunizations if they have a fever or are not feeling well. People know that from when they go get the flu shot. It applies here as well,” Berggren said. “But what you should do if you’re sick with COVID and you’re in-between shot number one and shot number two, is you should do your isolation, take good care of yourself, make that sure you are over the infection that you have no fever that you have completed the requirement of 10 days of isolation since the time the symptoms began.”

Once you’re no longer infectious, you can get the shot. If you’re uncertain whether you’re well enough, you should consult a primary care physician.

“This may in fact delay the timing of your second shot but we don’t think that will affect the efficacy of the vaccine,” Berggren said.

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About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.