Vaccination after COVID-19 infection

Learn about COVID-19 vaccination after a COVID-19 infection, when you need to get one and who it’s recommended for.

Vaccination after COVID-19 infection

Everyone in Australia aged 5 years and over should wait 3 months between a COVID-19 infection and their next recommended vaccine dose.

This is to optimise vaccine protection. The gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

The next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given as soon as possible after 3 months. You should still have all the recommended doses for your age and health needs.

The ATAGI recommended doses and vaccines outlines which vaccines and doses are recommended for each age and population group.

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Residential aged and disability care

Everyone is recommended to wait 3 months after a COVID-19 infection before receiving their next scheduled COVID-19 vaccination.

Aged care and disability residents can receive their COVID-19 winter dose from 4 months after their initial booster dose or 3 months after a COVID-19 infection.

People should only bring forward their next vaccination after infection to less than 3 months in exceptional circumstances. This might include if the scheduled vaccination cannot be rescheduled easily (e.g. outreach vaccination programs) or prior to starting an immunosuppressant.

COVID-19 and other vaccines

If you have had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, your influenza vaccine. It is recommended you shouldn’t get any vaccine if you are acutely unwell (e.g., you have a fever).

Staying up to date

To be considered up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, you must have completed all the doses recommended for your age and health status

If you had a confirmed COVID-19 infection you should defer vaccination for 3 months. You are considered ‘up-to-date’ during this period. The next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given as soon as possible after 3 months following a COVID-19 infection.

For people who have been infected and are required to prove they are ‘up-to-date’, a temporary medical exemption may be applicable. People should speak with their healthcare provider about what is best for them.

Find out about how to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

Why this advice has changed

ATAGI updated their advice on when people who have had a COVID-19 infection should receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose, reducing the period between infection and their next recommended dose from 4 months to 3 months.

There is a lower risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection, particularly if you have already had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Waiting for a 3-month period after infection before your next COVID-19 dose is also intended to optimise your protection.

ATAGI will continue to review the evidence on protection from vaccination and infection and may update advice if required, including if a new variant emerges or an outbreak response.

Safety of COVID-19 vaccines after infection

There are no safety concerns with having a COVID-19 vaccine dose within 3 months of having COVID-19. However, a gap of 3 months between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection

People who are vaccinated within 3 months of a COVID-19 infection do not need to repeat any doses.

An individual may be vaccinated earlier than the recommended 3-month interval in exceptional circumstances, such as prior to starting an immunosuppressant, prior to overseas travel or if someone cannot reschedule vaccination easily (e.g outreach vaccination program).

Last updated: 
16 May 2022

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