Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

February 17, 2022

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Do I still need to get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID-19?

Andrew Badley, M.D., COVID-19 Research Task Force Chair, Mayo Clinic: If you've already had COVID-19, should you still get vaccinated? The answer is yes. Several reasons for that. One is that the duration of immunity that you receive after having COVID-19 disease is variable. Our current estimates are that that goes away over about three months. The vaccine protection can augment that. So our current recommendations are, if you've had COVID-19, wait until you're better and up to about 90 days or three months and then receive the vaccine when you're able to.

Key takeaways

Getting COVID-19 offers some natural protection or immunity from reinfection with the COVID-19 virus. It’s estimated that infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination both result in a low risk of another infection with a similar variant for at least six months.

But because it’s possible to get reinfected and COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications, the CDC recommends that people who have already had COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, COVID-19 vaccination might offer better protection than getting sick with COVID-19. A recent study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get reinfected with COVID-19.

Recent research also suggests that people who got COVID-19 in 2020 and then received mRNA vaccines produce very high levels of antibodies that are likely effective against current and, possibly, future variants. Some scientists call this hybrid immunity. Further research is needed.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, there is no need to delay getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

More about getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19