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Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective in people who already have the virus?

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, text 512-459-9442.

AUSTIN, Texas — We know there is a lot to take in about the new COVID-19 vaccines. That's why the KVUE Defenders are answering your questions.

Question: Is the vaccine effective in people that already have COVID-19?

Answer: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because re-infection is possible, people may be advised to get the vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

At this time, experts don't know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last long-term, and we won't know how long immunity produced by a vaccination lasts until we have more data.

Question: If you test positive for COVID-19, how long should you wait before being vaccinated?

Answer: The CDC says people who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. The agency says you should plan on getting a shot when one is available to you but recommends waiting more than 90 days after a positive test result or the onset of symptoms.

Question: Do you still have to wear a mask after you get the vaccine?

Answer: Yes. Masks and social distancing will still be recommended for some time after people are vaccinated because the vaccine is effective at preventing symptomatic illness and severe disease, or people getting so sick that they end up in the hospital. 

What we don't know yet is whether the vaccine prevents someone from carrying the coronavirus and spreading it to others. So, it's possible that someone could be an asymptomatic carrier but still have the virus in their system, passing it on when they speak or breathe.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, text them to 512-459-9442.

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