Should COVID-19 positive patients get vaccinated? How long should they wait?

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Aritra Banerjee
Aritra Banerjee
Aritra Banerjee is a Journalist with Indian Aerospace & Defence, Co-Author of the book 'The Indian Navy @75: Reminiscing the Voyage' and the Co-Founder of Mission Victory India (MVI), a new-age military reforms think-tank. He has been a columnist writing on defence and strategic affairs for national and international publications in both print and digital media.

The Government of India has announced its third vaccination drive to be initiated for citizens above the age of 18, in order to deal with effects of the second COVID-19 wave. Nationwide cases have soared over 2,74,000 since 19 April 2021 and over 12 crore Coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in the past 92 days as part of India’s nationwide vaccination efforts.

With the third vaccination drive to be soon operational, a commonly asked question being received by infectious disease specialists is: Should COVID-19 positive patients get vaccinated? How long should they wait before they can go to receive their vaccination course?

What the experts have to say…

Dr. Vivek Nangia an internationally renowned Interventional Pulmonologist, with over two decades of rich clinical experience presently working with the Max Hospital in New Delhi opines that it is wise for COVID-19 positive patients to postpone taking the vaccine even if they experience marginal symptoms. He believes that the second vaccine shot can be pushed up to around three months.  

Similarly, Doctor Neeraj Tulara, a Consultant physician and Infectious disease specialist at the Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai opined, “As per the current guidelines patients who have developed the COVID-19 infection can be vaccinated after four to six weeks from their complete recovery.”

“Mostly patient developed antibodies after COVID-19 infection but it has been seen these antibodies started going down after a few weeks hence taking vaccine works as a booster and increase the COVID-19 antibody level to multifold and give long lasting immunity,” added Dr. Tulara.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apollo Home Health Care also makes a case that one can delay their second vaccine dose by a few weeks.

Going data released by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) those with Coronavirus symptoms are safe to take the vaccine. However medical experts have cited studies which indicate that delaying the second vaccine shot may aid in developing a better immune response to the virus. Furthermore, medical professionals have raised concerns over COVID-19 positive patients going for vaccination as it endangers the medical staff administering the vaccines at the centers.

What you can do if you have tested positive

Those who have contracted the Coronavirus and are yet to receive their vaccinations are advised to postpone their first or second course, until they test negative for the virus. The American CDC believes that the risk of contracting the virus again after having a bout with COVID-19 is significantly marginal and therefore vaccination can be rescheduled. The John Hopkins Center for Health Security is of the view that Coronavirus positive patients can wait as far as 90 days before receiving their vaccination.        


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