Some COVID-19 patients should wait 90 days before getting the vaccine

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Doctors say some COVID-19 patients should wait for at least three months before they get the vaccine, while others may not have to wait as long. Even with a wait, they say people who have had COVID-19 should still get a vaccine, because protection from the vaccine is likely more robust.

“Can’t really truly rely on natural infection to give us that needed immunity,” said Dr. Joyce Sanchez, infectious disease specialist, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin.

While protection from the vaccine may be better than natural protection, some doctors say natural immunity after COVID-19 infection still lasts a few months.

We think natural immunity is really highly protective for the 90 days after the initial positive test,” says Dr. Matt Anderson, senior medical director at UW Health.

Dr. Anderson says once someone has fully recovered from COVID-19, is not having ongoing symptoms and is no longer in isolation, they can technically get the vaccine. He does warn the enhanced immunity could cause side effects after the shot.

“Between that 28 days and that 90 days, there’s not necessarily a wrong answer, just be aware there may be more side effects the closer you get it to the original infection,” he adds.

“It stands to reason that they have a more amplified reaction,” says Dr. Sanchez.

For COVID-19 patients who were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma in the hospital, the CDC says they should wait at least 90 days before getting the vaccine.

“We don’t want any of the monoclonal antibodies to interfere with your own body’s ability to mount a vaccine response,” Dr. Sanchez said.

For others who were asymptomatic and didn’t know they had COVID-19, but got the vaccine anyway, doctors say they’re probably okay.

“If we knew about it, we wouldn’t be getting vaccinated right then, but people don’t have to worry if they’re not going to get the immunity from it or the immune response, but just maybe that they get a little bit of exaggerated side effects perhaps,” Dr. Anderson says.

Dr. Anderson says the after-vaccine side effects could include a higher fever, more fatigue or other flu-like symptoms.

He does not recommend getting tested before getting the vaccine.

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