Here’s what the government advisory says, and what a doctor told TNM.

A woman beneficiary receives the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, amid rising coronavirus cases across the countryImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus COVID-19 Monday, April 26, 2021 - 14:21

Amid a deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, the Indian government last week announced that all those above 18 will be eligible for vaccination against the disease from May 1. So far, only those above 45 years of age with comorbidities were deemed eligible, apart from healthcare and frontline workers. However, if you have already contracted COVID-19 and recovered, when should you take the vaccine?

According to the advisory by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare dated January 14, 2021, persons having active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 should defer vaccination by 4-8 weeks. The same goes for those who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma therapy.

According to Dr Preetam Arthur, senior physician and professor of medicine at Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai, when a person has COVID-19, they too suggest that vaccination by deferred by one to two months. “Certain inflammatory markers will be up when a person contracts the infection. Ideally these should settle down before you take the vaccine. In most of the cases, it should settle down within a month. Two months after recovering is a good time to take the first shot,” he tells TNM.

He adds that if a person wants to be doubly sure that their indicators are conducive to take the vaccine, they can consult their medical specialist or physician before going for the first shot. “If a person has not had a very severe case of COVID-19, then a two-month gap between recovery and vaccination is enough. But if they want to be extra cautious, they can consult their doctor,” Dr Preetam says.

Further, if a person tested positive for the novel coronavirus in between doses, doctors had told TNM that the recovered person does not need to repeat the first dose of the vaccine again, but can take the second dose. The timing of the second dose would depend on certain indicators, like the antibody levels in the person’s body, and a doctor should be consulted for this. If you contracted COVID-19 after taking the first shot of the vaccine, read about when to take second dose here.

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