There has been an alarming caseload of people contracting COVID-19 in recent days. Some of these people have never caught the infection before, then some have tested positive for the second time, and there are also cases where people seemed to have got infected, days or weeks after getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
The recent tweak in guidelines has also issued fresher concerns amongst the people, who will now have to wait for a prolonged period to be fully immunized. Hence, face a considerable risk of infection when mutant virus strains are causing havoc and fast spreading.
But what happens when you contract COVID-19 between doses? Are you still eligible to get your second jab, and should you take it? We clear some of your questions…
What are the chances you will get infected?
Vaccines may be a big silver bullet in our fight against novel coronavirus, but it’s crucial to remember that no vaccine offers 100% protection against COVID-19. This means that a person can get COVID-19, even if they get vaccinated (partially or fully).
People who contract the infection after getting both doses of the vaccine are termed ‘breakthrough’ cases. Breakthrough cases are still rare and mostly mild. That being said, the risk of getting the infection will still be on the higher side after a person gets the first jab. This is because the first dose of the vaccine offers partial immunity and does not fully ‘protect’ you. Therefore, even getting a single dose of the vaccine doesn’t mean that we can get complacent with our behavior.
What happens if you were just scheduled to get your second dose and get infected?
Now, what happens if a person actually contracts the infection very close to getting their second COVID-19 dose? Will it render their vaccination ineffective? Experts say no.
A COVID-19 infection helps the body mount certain protective antibodies naturally. However, since the nature and the time these antibodies last aren’t known yet, it is still advisable to get the second dose of the vaccine after recovering. In such a scenario, patients may need to revisit their dosage timeline but be sure not to miss it. This is because getting a vaccine jab will add to your immune strength, over and above the natural antibodies, and serve additional purposes.
So, even if you unluckily enough catch the infection, do not miss your vaccination schedule and instead reschedule it. The recent guidelines with Covishield, some belief, will ease worries in this manner as well.
Do remember that missing your vaccine date will not make your vaccine ineffective.
How long can you wait? Could you delay your doses?
As per recent guidelines, beneficiaries getting the Covishield jab should wait 8-12 weeks after the first dose. With Covaxin, the dosing schedule remains 4-6 weeks.
If you contract COVID-19 weeks leading up to your second vaccination date, consider extending your vaccination date for it to be completely protective.
What is considered ideal is to postpone vaccination by at least six weeks after a mild infection. Ninety days post-infection is regarded as the time when natural antibodies are at their peak function. Those with a severe form of illness or weak immunity should consider getting a go-ahead from a physician first. Remember, if you happen to get infected between doses, the focus should remain on recovering from the illness first and deferring vaccination.
How much immunity does a single-dose jab offer?
Almost all vaccine doses work as two-dose regimes, meaning that individuals who choose to receive COVID vaccines will require two doses of the vaccine, spaced weeks apart.
It is only 14 days after the second COVID-19 shot that a person is considered fully immunized against COVID, and the chances of infection are minimized. As with the first dose, not only are you partially protected but still considered at risk.
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