Should I Delay the Vaccine If I Get Exposed to COVID?

If you get exposed to COVID before you get your vaccine or between doses of vaccine, you may be wondering if you should wait to get vaccinated.

What does it mean to be exposed?

You should consider yourself exposed if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 or more minutes) with someone with COVID starting 48 hours before the person had symptoms or tested positive.

How long should I wait?  Why do I have to wait?

The CDC recommends that people with a known COVID exposure wait until their quarantine period of 14 days since exposure has ended.  This will help protect health care workers and others at the vaccination location from exposure to COVID.

If you currently have COVID, you should wait at least 10 days from symptom start or positive test and your symptoms are better (with the exception of loss of smell and taste).

What happens if I’m in between doses and it’s longer than 3-4 weeks between a first and second vaccine dose?

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;  there is no need to restart the vaccine series.

Last update: April 8, 2021, 1:30 pm ET

Science review: ERS, JAB