Coronavirus: Is it dangerous to vaccinate people who have been already infected by the virus?

Published by Laurent P., Rizhlaine F. · Published on 1 March 2021 at 16h07 · Updated on 2 March 2021 at 09h53
Is it dangerous to get vaccinated against Covid if you have been infected already? As France is in the middle of the vaccination campaign, this Saturday December 19, 2020 the Haute Autorité de Santé issued a release. It addresses the usefulness issue of having people already infected with coronavirus vaccinated. An issue addressed again this Monday March 1, 2021 by INSERM head of research Béhazine Combadière.

The coronavirus epidemic keeps on spreading in France and the country is about to make another step in the fight against Covid-19: vaccine. The vaccine campaign has begun late December in nursing homes, and even though France has planned the strategy depending on the priority populations, there are still questions especially when it comes to the usefulness to vaccinate people that have been infected by the virus already and likely hazardous nature.

And this Monday March 1, on LCI, the INSERM address the hazardous nature of vaccination in the event you have been infected already. "It's absolutely not contraindicated to get vaccinated after infectionINSERM head of research Béhazine Combadière explains. She goes on: "even though you recently have been infected or if you have been asymptomatic".

And it is actually rather recommended to get vaccinated to increase the protection against the virus lifespan: "once the body has seen the virus, it has a response, vaccine simply boosts the immune system showing it the virus again", she explains. "It's the same principle than booster shot every ten years", she adds. She concludes: "the immune system is asked to remember how to fight against the virus. It's good for immune memory".

As for the necessity to vaccinate people already infected, this Saturday December 19, 2020, the Haute Autorité de Santé addressed the issue in a release. It wrote that systematically vaccinating the French infected with Covid-19 was not relevant. Yet, nothing prevents them from being vaccinated if they wish as long as there is no specific severe adverse effect. It also writes that so far, no one knows about the possible advantages of vaccinating somebody that has been ill already, adding that if people wish to get vaccinated, they should wait at least for three weeks after being infected.

This Friday January 8, 2021, same thing again, but this time it is Paris Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière immunology unit head Guy Gorochov who adds grist to the mill to La Dépêche as for likely vaccination after being contaminated. He explained it was not useful to wait for three months - as recommended by the HAS - saying there is "no risk, but it is not truly effective. For people the least at risk, not given priority, we can consider waiting between six months and one year after Covid-19 contamination". Data that encouraged the Haute Autorité de Santé to review things and recommend vaccinating people who have been infected three months after, with only one shot of vaccine.

But why vaccinating only three months later? Combadière gives an answer: "It's the time for the immune system to settle in". She goes on: "It takes a while to create this memory, and we consider, thanks to the overall observation of viruses, this time period covers three months".

To go further:

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