You asked, we answered: What if I get COVID-19 after my first vaccine shot?

Sick man lying down and woman holding thermometer


What happens if you get the first vaccine, then get COVID-19 – testing positive – what about the second shot?

Answered by employee health nurse Teresa Balfour, RN:

If you test positive for COVID-19 after receiving your first dose of vaccine, you should reschedule your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine once your isolation period is completed.

You can safely end your isolation period if it's been:

  • 10 days since your symptoms started
  • 24 hours or more since you had a fever (without taking fever-lowering medications), and
  • 24 hours of significant symptom improvement

If it's been 10 days and you still have a fever or other symptoms, you should remain in isolation. If your symptoms still don't improve, stay in isolation until 21 days have passed since you started experiencing symptoms.

Talk to your primary care provider for further guidance, especially if you have immunosuppression or severe COVID-19 disease.

Reschedule second shot if infected

This exact situation happened to Nebraska Medicine director of ambulatory clinics Jared Long. Long got his first shot on Dec. 30, 2020, but then he tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 19, 2021. 

Because he had COVID-19, Long canceled his original second dose date. He rescheduled his second dose after his isolation period was completed, and he met the criteria to return to work. He got his second shot on Feb. 1.

Long didn't have any noticeable side effects after his second dose, other than slight soreness where he got the shot.