Immunization after COVID-19 infection

January 12, 2022

Alberta Health provides timing considerations and rationale for immunization.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has provided the following recommendations for immunizing individuals who have had prior COVID-19 infections:

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Currently in Alberta, individuals with a prior infection are not considered to have adequate immune protection from COVID, and a complete primary series of COVID-19 vaccine is still recommended. Timing considerations and rationale are outlined below.

Overview:

  • Individuals presenting for immunization do not need to be tested for previous COVID19 infection.
  • Most individuals with a history of lab confirmed COVID-19 infection who have no contraindications can be provided COVID-19 vaccine as soon as their isolation period is over.
  • However, the timing of immunization after a COVID-19 infection depends on the risk of re-infection based on an individual’s circumstances, including potential infection-acquired immunity, risks of exposure (e.g., workplaces or living situations with direct contact to other individuals), risks of severe illness from COVID-19 reinfection or risks of transmission to other individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness, as well as the circulation of variants of concern in the community. Clinicians can counsel patients on timing, taking into account the information below.
  • Although mild or moderate reactions such as pain at the injection site and fever seem to occur somewhat more often in vaccine recipients with a previous infection than those who have not had an infection, the risk of serious adverse events after vaccination has not been found to be any higher.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to support the COVID-19 Immunization Program.

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For more information, including an overview of current evidence, COVID-19 re-infection and variants of concern, general recommendations, clinical considerations, and AEFI/AESI reporting, please read Dr. Hinshaw’s entire message on the Alberta Health website.


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