If you wonder how long after COVID to get a booster shot, you are not alone. A lot of people are asking this question right now. The good news is that there is no one definitive answer to this question. It depends on a variety of factors, including your age and overall health. This blog post will explore the different factors that determine when you should get your booster shot after being infected with COVID-19.
- Getting COVID-19
- COVID-19 Vaccine
- A booster dose of COVID-19 Vaccine
- When is the Best Time to Get a Booster Shot?
- Why get the Booster Doses?
In the past two years of the COVID pandemic, millions of people were infected by this virus that mainly attacks the body’s respiratory system. COVID-19 can be severe, and it has caused millions of deaths around the world and lasting health problems in some who have survived the illness.
COVID-19 symptoms show up in people within two to 14 days of exposure to the virus. A person infected with the coronavirus is contagious to others for up to two days before symptoms appear. They remain contagious to others for 10 to 20 days, depending upon their immune system and the severity of their illness.
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- New fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
Some people infected with the coronavirus have mild COVID-19 illness, and others have no symptoms at all. In some cases, however, COVID-19 can lead to respiratory failure, lung and heart muscle damage, nervous system problems, kidney failure, or death.
If you have a fever or any of the symptoms listed above, call your doctor or a health care provider and explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care facility, or emergency room.
The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated when eligible, follow testing guidelines, wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice physical distancing.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spikes of protein on each viral particle. These spikes help the viruses attach to cells and cause disease. Some coronavirus vaccines are designed to help the body “recognize” these spike proteins and fight the coronavirus that has them.
An effective vaccine helps protect the person who receives it from serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Widespread vaccination will help limit spread through communities and restrict the virus’s opportunity to continue mutating into new variants. Get your initial dose as soon as possible.
Of the many brands of COVID vaccines developed by different pharmaceutical companies (like the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,) two COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer or Moderna vaccine – have been fully approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC. Many medical professionals and specialists view these FDA-approved mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna as highly effective at disease control and preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
A booster dose of COVID-19 Vaccine
It is also important to receive a booster when you are eligible. Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provide very good protection, especially against severe disease. Other than that, people with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency who received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system or received a stem cell transplant within the last two years are recommended to receive three doses of the COVID vaccine, plus one booster shot.
A booster dose will make sure the protection from the first two doses is even stronger and longer-lasting and should help prevent the spread of the virus.
A booster dose increases your protection against:
- infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
- severe disease
- dying from COVID-19.
A booster dose will continue to protect you, your loved ones, and your community against COVID-19.
Booster doses are free for everyone. Prioritization in getting the first batches of the booster shots should include the elderly, frontliners, healthcare workers, and patients with debilitating health problems, like those receiving active cancer treatment.
When is the Best Time to Get a Booster Shot?
You can book a booster dose if it has been three months or longer since your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you can have your next dose of the vaccine once you have fully recovered, or you can choose to defer the dose for up to 4 months after your COVID-19 infection. Speak with your health care provider about what is best for you.
I got COVID. When can I get my booster dose?
Patients infected with COVID-19 should wait ten days after their positive test before getting their booster shot. This is in part due to isolation guidelines from the CDC. While those who recently recovered from COVID have antibodies, doctors still recommend getting a booster shot.
But let’s say you didn’t get around to getting a booster and then became infected with omicron, or you are still recovering from omicron. Should you still get boosted?
In that case, the CDC recommends waiting to get a booster until symptoms resolve and you finish isolation. People who test positive but never show symptoms can get their booster after they have completed their isolation period.
Excluding hospitalized patients, COVID-19 infections take about two weeks to recover from. Experts say to wait at least two weeks for symptoms to resolve because breaking isolation could lead to other people getting infected. Additionally, because most people mount a good immune response to the vaccine, which might make them feel sick, getting the vaccine when you’re actively infected can worsen symptoms and place more stress on your body.
Why get the Booster Doses?
Moderna or Pfizer booster doses came around because of the surge of the new Omicron variant. When the vaccines were being developed, this variant was not included in the composition for which the vaccines give immunity. Studies determined that a two-dose mRNA vaccine regimen did not protect against infection with omicron.
Boosters increase the immune response by helping antibodies better identify multiple parts of the coronavirus. Recent research published in the journal Cell found that mRNA boosters stimulate the production of cross-reactive antibodies. These are antibodies that bind well to both omicron and earlier coronavirus strains. No matter which vaccine you started with, it’s important to get a Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccine booster once you’re eligible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults receive a booster at least five months after full vaccination in most cases. There are some differences depending on your age, whether you initially received the J&J shot, and whether you are immunocompromised or not. Both mRNA vaccines (either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine) are the preferred choice for boosters.