How long after COVID-19 infection can I get a booster? Here’s what ATAGI recommends

In the past month, more than 2 million Australians have tested positive for COVID-19, but the explosion in infections has coincided with the increasing availability of booster shots.

As of yesterday, everyone in the country is entitled to a booster three months after their second dose of a vaccine.

But what happens when you get sick with COVID around the time of your scheduled shot?

Here’s when government experts say you could be vaccinated if you’ve recently recovered from a bout of the virus.

When can you be vaccinated after covid?

If you have been tested positive for COVID-19, you should not visit a pharmacy, general practitioner or vaccination center to get stung while you are contagious.

But authorities say there is nothing stopping you from receiving a vaccine dose – be it a booster or part of an initial course – once your symptoms have stopped completely and your isolation period is over.

A sign reads 'COVID-19 Vaccination Center: Keeping our community safe' while a masked couple walks by.
Authorities say that once you have fully recovered, you could be vaccinated if you go to a booster.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Chief nurse and midwife Alison McMillan urged anyone who had recovered and should have a booster to take it as soon as possible.

“So if you’ve had COVID recently, or you think you’ve had COVID … once the runny nose, headache, sore throat, aches and pains are gone, then you can go and get your booster ,” she said.

According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) “there is no requirement to postpone vaccination” after a COVID-positive person has recovered from acute illness in most cases.

However, it says that people who received specific treatments for COVID-19 will have to wait.

“Vaccination should be delayed for 90 days in individuals who have received anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma therapy,” says ATAGI.

ATAGI says that if a patient tests positive for COVID-19 between their first and second dose, or between their second dose and booster dose, the patient should postpone their appointment until they have recovered from the disease.

People who suffer from persistent and persistent COVID-19 symptoms after four months should be treated on a case-by-case basis, the advisory group says.

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I’ve had COVID, can I have it again?

Do you need a booster if you have recovered from COVID-19?

ATAGI says that although there is no requirement to postpone vaccination, it can be postponed for up to four months after COVID-19 infection, “as previous infection reduces the chance of re-infection for at least this period of time”.

Professor McMillan said, however, that people who have been given COVID-19 should not rely solely on naturally-built immunity to protect them from re-infection.

“We are often asked if I have had COVID, or I think I have had COVID, do I really need to be boosted? And the answer is that you absolutely have,” she said.

“We know that a first infection potentially gives you a small amount of protection against COVID, but we do not actually know how much yet, but we know that the booster will give you high levels of protection, especially against serious illness and death.”

NSW Health says that for people who have recovered from COVID-19, boosters can strengthen their protection by up to 86 percent against infection and 98 percent against serious illness.

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