With the ongoing vaccination drive in the country, people are becoming curious if vaccines are going to save them against the infection. Among many, one major question asked by people is can you get covid in between vaccine doses? Before answering that, you have to understand a few basic things.
It is important to remember that mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are not magic bullets. You have to keep in mind that they work only according to certain logics and rules and sciences. If you have had only your first dose of vaccine (be it Covaxin or Covishield), you still can test covid positive in between vaccine doses. If you do get infected with the virus between the doses, you do not need to restart the series of doses or skip the second dose altogether.
Here is a guide on the time in between covid vaccine doses, the chances of getting positive between doses and how you can reschedule your second dose.
Can One Dose of Vaccine Save You From the COVID Infection?
Thanks to the hard work of scientists, the vaccines that they have prepared can provide a high degree of immunity against the infection. However, a high degree is not the same as 100% effectiveness. Whether you have received both doses or just a single dose of the vaccine, you can still get infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Both vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, were granted permission by the authorities only after their efficacy was checked through many clinical trials. In the clinical trials, it was found that after being fully vaccinated, only a few individuals among thousands were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infections. In comparison, the ratio of people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infections against unaffected people increased a little when they were given only one dose.
This means that it is best to get both doses so that you can have the highest degree of protection against the infection. However, getting only one dose of vaccine will also provide you with some level of protection. When compared with infected people who did not get even a single dose of vaccine, your experience of symptoms should be less.
Another thing that should be kept in mind here is that you are considered fully vaccinated only two weeks (around 15 days) after getting the second dose. Until then, you should follow the highest degree of protection against the virus.
What to Do If You Get Infected Between the Doses?
If you get infected with the virus between the vaccine doses, the first thing that you have to do is isolate yourself. Instead of getting the scheduled second dose, you first have to recover from the infection. The minimum period of isolation after recent potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 is 14 days.
The data available from clinical trials indicate that people who have got infected with SARS-CoV-2 can safely get both COVID-19 vaccines. However, it is important for the infected individual to first complete the isolation period; only then can he or she reschedule the second dose of the vaccine.
Note: In such a case, people who are suffering from any type of immunosuppressive disease should check in with their healthcare provider at the earliest. Since going out unless an emergency is not recommended, you can talk to the healthcare provider online as many COVID-19 online consultations are available these days. If your child is infected, you can also get an online COVID-19 consultation for kids.
When To Take the Second Dose?
Once you get fully recovered from COVID-19, you still need to get the second dose for better protection. It is not known how long the protection develops after natural infection lasts, so doctors advise getting the second dose of the vaccine. The administration of the second dose is advised to be as close as possible to the recommended interval. But since you have developed covid in between vaccine doses CDC recommends waiting for at least 14 days.
This rule of waiting for 14 days applies everywhere except in conditions: if you were treated with either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies during your COVID-19 infection period, you must wait for 90 days to be vaccinated. If you do not know whether you were treated with convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies or not, just consult your doctor. These days, you can easily get an online COVID-19 consultation for adult and kids.
This is a precautionary step suggested by CDC as there is only limited data available on how the immune response from the vaccine interacts with the antibody therapy. Here is how the series works: if you had your first dose of the vaccine, got infected with the COVID-19 virus, were treated with either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies, then you have to wait for 90 days.
Some people are concerned about the vaccine efficacy if they are infected with COVID-19 between the doses. Will it decrease the efficacy or is there no effect by the infection?
There are many studies being done on vaccinated people with prior laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Some of the studies showed that infected people had a high-level vaccine-induced antibody response as compared to the vaccine-induced antibody response in healthy people. It is yet to be discovered how these how levels can affect vaccine-induced protection.
If you want to understand all the scientific jargons, how SARS-CoV-2 infection can affect mRNA efficacy, here is a takeaway for you: if you get infected before your administration of the second dose, isolate yourself and take a complete rest.
Keep in touch with a medical expert while taking the rest. If you think your health is deteriorating, consult the doctor for the same. And once the isolation period is completed, reschedule the appointment of the second dose.