What to consider when vaccinating after COVID-19
If people have already contracted COVID-19, how useful is a vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus? And what are the advantages or disadvantages of this for those affected?
The expert Dr. Neal Chaisson of the Cleveland Clinic (USA) explains why it makes perfect sense to be vaccinated against the coronavirus even after having recovered from COVID-19.
Vaccination despite previous illness
When it comes to vaccination and COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA recommend that people should get vaccinated when it is their turn to do so, even if they have previously had COVID-19.
If you’ve had COVID-19 before, you will likely have developed some natural immunity to it once you recover. But it is not yet known exactly how long this natural immunity will last. We believe the vaccine can increase your protection without causing harm, explains Dr. Chaisson in one Press release der Cleveland Clinic.
In which cases should I not be vaccinated?
However, if you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma when you had COVID-19, it is recommended that you better wait 90 days first before getting vaccinated. This recommendation also applies if you are sick and have received these treatments while you are waiting for your second dose of vaccine, the expert adds.
Occurrence of side effects?
There is currently no evidence that an illness that has already been overcome increases or reduces the likelihood of side effects from the vaccine. Typical side effects of the vaccination are, for example, slight pain in the arm, tiredness, muscle pain, a headache or fever. This is especially true after the second dose, reports Dr. Chaisson.
Continue to observe precautionary measures after vaccination
Even after a vaccination, it is of course important that a mask is still worn and that other precautionary measures are observed. Even after the second vaccination, you are not 100 percent immune to the possibility of contracting COVID-19, and you can continue to spread the virus to other people. So until more people can be vaccinated, we should all do our best to protect ourselves and those around us, the expert explains.
Information from the Robert Koch Institute
The Robert Koch Institute explains in one Press release On this subject, it can be assumed that people who have recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 have at least a temporary degree of protection against an illness. However, there is currently insufficient data on the duration and quality of such a protective effect.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) therefore sees the need for a booster vaccination even after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Robert Koch Institute reports that the appropriate time for this cannot yet be specified.
However, according to STIKO, people who have had a laboratory-diagnostic confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2 should not be vaccinated for the time being. For example, the vaccine can be used for people who have neither had an illness nor are vaccinated.
Vaccinations in nursing homes?
The experts further explain that if it is logistically difficult to postpone and call in or visit those who have recovered, for example in retirement or nursing homes, all those living or working in a home should be offered a vaccination as soon as sufficient vaccine doses are available.
Effects on tolerance or effectiveness?
According to the data available so far, there is no indication that the vaccination after an already unnoticed SARS-CoV-2 infection poses a problem with regard to tolerability or effectiveness, reports the RKI. Accordingly, there is no need to exclude the presence of an acute, asymptomatic or undetected SARS-CoV-2 infection in laboratory diagnostics prior to the administration of a COVID-19 vaccination.
People with previous illnesses tolerated vaccination better
The approval studies for the two mRNA vaccines also included participants who had previously been through a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Overall, the vaccination was better tolerated by these people than by primarily seronegative (people in whom serological test methods cannot detect antibodies against specific antigens) participants. Local and systemic reactions after vaccination were less pronounced. In addition, there are no differences in the effectiveness of the vaccination if a SARS-CoV-2 infection has already preceded it, add the experts from the Robert Koch Institute. (as)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Cleveland Clinic: Should I Get the Vaccine if I’ve Already Had COVID-19 — and Would My Side Effects Be Worse? (veröffentlicht 28.01.2021), Cleveland Clinic
- Robert Koch Institute: COVID-19 and vaccination: Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) (published as of January 28, 2021), Robert Koch Institute
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.