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Can You Get The Vaccine If You Already Have Covid?


We’ve now reached the point where adults over the age of 16 are eligible to get the Covid vaccine. This is true in all 50 states, as well as in Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. 

But… what if you make an appointment to get the vaccine, only to realize that you’ve developed symptoms or tested positive for Covid in the meantime?

This is a pretty serious question. 

But thankfully, the answer is pretty simple. 

According to medical experts interviewed by ABC News, if you develop Covid 19 or are exposed to it right before you’re scheduled to get the vaccine, you’re supposed to delay your appointment. 

Here’s why. 

Why Do You Need To Delay Your Covid Vaccine If You Currently Have The Virus?

Yes, the official word is that you’re supposed to postpone your appointment if you come down with the virus. 

But not for the reasons you might think. 

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist from John Hopkins Center for Health Security who was recently interviewed by ABC News, the primary reason for why you shouldn’t get the vaccine if you currently have the virus is because you could expose other people to infection while you’re getting your vaccine. 

“It’s not safe,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja. “You shouldn’t because you are contagious, and you may infect the people vaccinating.”

Obviously, medical personnel are needed to administer the vaccination. 

There may also be other people lining up at the facility to get their vaccine. 

And these are all people who could be put at risk if you end up symptomatic, but don’t delay your appointment. 

If You Were Exposed To Covid, How Long Do You Need To Wait To Get Vaccinated? 

According to CDC guidelines, people who are displaying Covid-19 symptoms should “wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation.” 

In other words; for people with mild to moderate cases who aren’t severely immunocompromised, you’re supposed to wait until at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and at least 24 hours since you last had a fever. 

You should also wait until your Covid symptoms have improved or disappeared before you can actually schedule, and show up for, your vaccination. 

What If You’re Exposed To Covid Between Doses Of The Vaccine?

If you get your first vaccine dose, and then get exposed to Covid before your second dose, is it ok to postpone your second dose until you show zero Covid symptoms?

According to the ABC News report we referenced above, “spacing out your second dose beyond the typical three to four week window would be ok… but each person should talk to a doctor about their individual situation.’

In other words, it’s generally ok to wait to make sure that you’re in the clear; but it’s still something that you should probably discuss with your doctor, just to make sure. 

In Conclusion

Hopefully this post has helped you to understand the details surrounding the confusing situation of wanting to get vaccinated after an accidental exposure. 

If you follow these general guidelines, you should be alright; but always make sure to consult the CDC guidelines, as well as your family doctor if in doubt. 

Always remember; there’s no substitute for medical advice from a trained, certified professional. 


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