How Soon Can You Get Vaccinated After Recovering From COVID-19?

Jan. 5, 2022 - Katie McCallum

If you're unvaccinated and recovering from COVID-19 — whether the case is mild or more severe — you might be wondering how soon before you can take the necessary step to prevent a recurrence: getting vaccinated.

The risk of reinfection — yes, it is possible — is not insignificant. The data show that unvaccinated adults are twice as likely to get COVID-19 a second time than those who get vaccinated after recovering.

"Anyone who can get vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they've had COVID-19, should do so," says Dr. Robert Phillips, executive vice president and chief physician executive at Houston Methodist. "At this point, there are just too many unknowns regarding how durable and reliable natural immunity is to feel confident about the protection it may offer."

Vaccine-induced immunity offers incredibly effective protection against severe illness from COVID-19 — even against the more infectious omicron variant.

And COVID boosters provide even more protection. This means anyone who is eligible should consider getting their booster as soon as possible.

So if you have COVID-19 and are ready to get vaccinated or are wondering when you can get your booster, here's what you need to know:

How soon can you get vaccinated after recovering from COVID-19?

"After testing positive for COVID-19, you will need to postpone getting vaccinated until your symptoms have resolved and you've met the criteria for discontinuing isolation," says Dr. Phillips. "This timeline can vary by person, depending on your symptom severity and the treatments you may have received."

The criteria for ending isolation varies from person to person, so be sure you understand what your isolation timeline needs to look like.

"Someone with an asymptomatic COVID-19 case can get vaccinated as soon as their isolation ends. You don't need a negative viral test before vaccination," says Dr. Phillips.

One caveat: If you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you will need to wait 90 days before getting the vaccine.

"People who received either of these antibody treatments will need to wait about three months before getting vaccinated," says Dr. Phillips. "The reason for this is that the antibodies in these treatments might hinder you from developing a complete immune response towards the vaccine."

Talk to your doctor if you're not sure which exact COVID-19 treatments you received during your illness.

How soon can you get a COVID booster after having COVID-19?

If you have recently had a COVID-19 breakthrough infection and are 16+, it's recommended that you get your COVID booster once your symptoms have resolved and you've met the criteria to end isolation — and the recommended time has elapsed since your primary series of either Pfizer (5 months), Moderna (6 months) or J&J (2 months).

Vaccinated people who received monoclonal antibodies as part of their COVID-19 treatment plan will need to wait 90 days before getting a COVID booster.


Next Steps:

Sign up for your COVID-19 vaccine or booster:

All individuals age 5 and older are currently eligible to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and individuals 16+ may be eligible for a booster.

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Everyone 5+ can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and those who are 12+ may be eligible for a booster. We offer walk-ins and online scheduling for free Pfizer vaccines.
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