Question & Answer

If I had COVID-19 before, do I still need to get a vaccine?

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  • We don’t yet know how long or how well a person remains immune to the virus after a natural infection, so people who have had COVID-19 infection should be offered COVID-19 vaccines (HSE Clinical Guidance).
  • The CDC also recommends that people be offered a vaccination regardless of whether they have had COVID-19, with or without symptoms. Information from clinical trials tells us that ‘currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be given safely to people with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection’ (CDC, 2021).
  • A recent case report suggests that a person who has previously had COVID-19 could possibly be reinfected by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
  • There is also a small possibility that a person may still get infected by the virus even if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the person will be protected from any possible serious illness that the virus can sometimes cause (HSE 2021).
  • So even though it is relatively rare to be re-infected, COVID-19 vaccination is advised for people who have had and recovered from COVID-19 (ECDC).To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, please continue to follow public health guidelines to maintain social distancing and wash your hands properly and often.

Things to Remember

Reviewers

  • Lead Researcher: Dr Tom Conway, HRB-Trial Methodology Research Network & Evidence Synthesis Ireland, School of nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway.
  • Reviewed by: Professor Declan Devane, School of Nursing and Midwifery, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Professor Andrew Murphy, General Practice, NUI Galway, Health Research Board Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland
  • Evidence Advisor: Deirdre Mac Loughlin, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.