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How long should you wait to receive your booster shot post-infection?

Last Updated Jan 14, 2022 at 8:20 am MST

A nurse draws a syringe before administering a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Oct. 23, 2021. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

The surge in Omicron is infecting thousands of people each day, and if you contract the virus, you might be wondering how long you should wait to get your booster shot.

Recommendations on when to receive your third dose post-infection vary across the country.

Ontario recommends waiting 30 days, Quebec suggests waiting until your symptoms are gone, and Alberta encourages people to get their doses once isolation ends or their symptoms have resolved. In B.C., the provincial health officer has said a person can get their booster you when they are feeling better and recovered from the infection.

There is no definitive timeline, mainly because research is still being conducted on the Omicron variant, but some experts say you shouldn’t rush out to get your third dose.

“I’d probably follow when your booster shot is due,” said Dr. Daniel Gregson, infectious disease physician and medical microbiologist at the Cumming School of Medicine.

“If I had my second dose of vaccine in November and I got Omicron in December, I’d be looking at six months from November and see what the evidence shows at that point in time.”

On Thursday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said there are pros and cons of waiting to get the booster shot.

“An individual may have certain medical conditions. There may be factors in terms of what they do for their occupation that might put them at risk of future exposure,” she said.

She explained that’s why the province chose to allow people to get the additional dose once recovered from their infection, on top of providing further information to clinicians so people can determine what’s the best option for their individual needs.

Overall, people should make sure they are asymptomatic before receiving the vaccine, said Dr. Gregson.

“You don’t want to be confusing ongoing symptoms from COVID with adverse reactions from immunization.”

Vaccines continue to be the best defence against COVID-19, and a third dose reduces the risk of severe outcomes.

As of Thursday, 79.8 per cent of Alberta’s total population has received at least one vaccine, 73.3 per cent are fully immunized.

Over 1.2 million third doses have been administered.