Can You Still Get COVID After Vaccine?

It’s been over a year since the onset of the coronavirus, and many people are ready to get back to their regular life in the real world. With the coronavirus vaccine becoming more accessible across the country, experts feel that the end may be in sight; however, some are wondering, can you still get COVID after the vaccine? Keep reading to learn more about the coronavirus vaccine, and ways you can continue to protect yourself and others from contracting the virus. 

Different COVID-19 Vaccines 

Currently, there are three vaccines that are authorized and recommended in the United States to prevent contracting COVID-19: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases (CDC) and the federal website, the best vaccine is the first one available to you. Do not wait to receive a specific brand of the vaccine unless you have a pre-existing condition that makes you ineligible for a specific vaccine; the CDC does not recommend any vaccine over another and all of the above vaccines are currently available authorized, safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness. However, each individual vaccine has different regulations: 


  • To get the Pfizer vaccine, recipients must be 16 years old or 12 years old with parental consent. In order to become fully vaccinated, you will need two doses, with the second shot being administered 21 days (3 weeks) after the initial shot. 


  • Moderna recipients must be 18 years and older. The vaccine is administered in two doses, with the final shot administered 29 days (4 weeks) after the initial dose. 

Johnson & Johnson

  • Like the Moderna vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson shot has an age requirement of 18 years and older. However, this vaccine is unique in that it only requires one shot instead of two.  

If for some reason you are able to receive the same type of vaccine for your second dose or are considering getting multiple vaccines for added protection, you should know that this is not recommended. Although there will likely be no adverse side effects, experts say that getting multiple vaccines of different brands will not further strengthen your immune system against the disease, and only serves to take away a chance at vaccination from someone who really needs it. 

How Long Does It Take to Build Up Immunity After Receiving the Vaccine?

No matter what vaccine you get, it takes two full weeks to achieve full inoculation. You should get your second dose as closely as possible to the recommended wait interval as possible. However, if necessary, your second shot may be given up to 42 days (6 weeks) after the first dose. Before you make your appointment, be sure to check the ingredient list of the vaccine you are supposed to receive to ensure that you aren’t allergic to anything in it. 

Can You Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine if You Are Currently Infected?

People that are currently sick with the coronavirus should not receive the vaccine until they have recovered from their illness and have met the requirements for discontinuing isolation. Even if you are experiencing no symptoms but test positive, it is recommended that you meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation before getting vaccinated to avoid complications.  

What Happens If You Get COVID-19 Between Vaccine Doses?

Although unlikely, you can get the coronavirus after the first dose of the vaccine. If you contract the coronavirus in between doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you need to reschedule your second dose to give yourself time to recover, isolating for at least 14 days after exposure to the virus. Do not get the vaccine before the 14 days or before your symptoms have stopped. 

Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Side effects of the vaccine may vary depending on the brand of shot that you get, but there are some common symptoms that you may experience regardless of what vaccine you received.

On the arm where you got the shot, you may experience: 

  • Pain 
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising 

Other common side-effects: 

  • Tiredness 
  • Headache 
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea 

To mitigate these symptoms, it may be helpful to take over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. If you are experiencing a high fever (over 102° F) that does not go down within a few hours of taking medication, seek medical attention immediately. 

Other Ways to Stop Spreading COVID-19 

Although receiving the vaccine as quickly as possible is your best protection against the coronavirus, there are still things you can continue to do to stop the spread and protect yourself and others. Wearing a mask in public places, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and maintaining good hygiene are all ways that you can help end this pandemic. Should you have reason to suspect that you have been exposed to the virus, get tested and self-isolate.