If I catch COVID after my first vaccine dose, should I still get the second dose?

Two of the three vaccines that are currently available require two doses. Although the first dose of the vaccine offers some protection, it is still possible to get COVID while you are waiting the 3-4 weeks to get your second dose.  

It’s important to note that you cannot catch COVID from the vaccine. So if you are unlucky and happen to catch COVID after your first dose, you may be wondering: 

  • Can I get the second dose?
  • Do I need to get the second dose?

The answer to both of these questions is yes. You still need to get the second dose.

What if I still have symptoms?

If you have COVID symptoms then you should wait until you have recovered. That means at least 10 days from when the symptoms started; at least 24 hours since you’ve had a fever; and that your other symptoms are better too (with the exception of loss of smell and taste).

What if I tested positive but don’t have symptoms?

If you tested positive and do not have symptoms, then you should wait at least 10 days after your positive test.

What happens if it’s longer than 3-4 weeks between doses?

Although the doses should be given as close as possible to the recommended 3-4 weeks apart, second dose vaccines can be given up to 42 days (6 weeks) after the first dose. The CDC also says that if there is longer than 42 days between doses, that you should still get the second dose,  and there is no need to restart the vaccine series.

Why get a second dose if you’ve already had COVID? Getting a second dose still offers you the best protection from getting COVID again.

Last update: March 19, 2021, 6:00 pm ET

Science review: JAB, ERS