Get vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19, advises Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
In its latest guidance issued Friday NACI said, “Individuals who experienced SARS-CoV-2 infection before starting or completing their primary COVID-19 vaccine series may receive their next dose 8 weeks after symptoms started or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced).”
While infection alone may provide some protection, vaccination following infection is expected to strengthen the immune response and to provide a more robust and longer lasting protection against COVID-19, according to the immunization committee.
The safety profile for people with previous infection is very good and generally comparable to those who have not previously been infected, stated NACI. Limited evidence suggests that side effects may be slightly increased in individuals previously infected with SARSCoV-2 compared to those with no history of previous infection.
When it comes to boosters, the advisory body recommended waiting six months after receiving two doses and three months after a coronavirus infection.
The NACI team believes that a longer interval between infection and vaccination “may result in a better immune response as this allows time for this response to mature in breadth and strength, and for circulating antibodies to decrease, thus avoiding immune interference when the vaccine is administered.”
“Individuals who are recommended to receive a booster dose and who experienced SARS-CoV-2 infection after completing their primary series may receive a booster dose 3 months after symptoms started or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced) and provided it is at least 6 months after completing a primary series,” a statement from NACI read.