Getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you've had COVID-19

Even if you’ve had COVID-19 you should still get any COVID-19 vaccinations you’re eligible for. It’s recommended you wait 3 months after testing positive before getting any COVID-19 vaccination.

Why you still need vaccinations 

Being infected with COVID-19 does not provide the same level of protection as vaccination.

Although your antibodies will be high after an infection – it’s unknown how long this natural immunity will keep you protected from another COVID-19 infection. 

Getting your COVID-19 vaccinations is your best defence against COVID-19 and can help protect you against future variants of COVID-19.

Why 3 months?

After you’ve had a COVID-19 infection, your antibody levels will be high as your immune system has a big response.

Your immune system is maxed out, so if you get a vaccination soon after you’ve been infected, you might not get the best possible protection.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine sooner than 3 months might reduce your immune response to the vaccine.

A gap of 3 months gives your body time to wind back down and get the most benefit from a vaccination.

However, if you are at high risk of severe disease if you do catch COVID-19 again, it’s recommended that you talk to your GP or other specialist for advice on timing of your next dose. It might be appropriate for you to receive your COVID-19 vaccine sooner than 3 months.

If you’re under 18

The 3-month interval should only be shortened for 5-17-year-olds in exceptional circumstances and should be assessed by a GP or specialist. 

Children and young adults have a good immune response to vaccines, and there is less data available on providing COVID-19 vaccines to children and adolescents less than 3 months after infection with COVID-19.

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