When do I get my covid booster?
November 23, 2022 12:51 PM   Subscribe

My partner got covid 1-2 months ago, right before the new shot came out, and again today.

The first time, he had a single positive test result and a sore throat for about 2 hours. We isolated once we knew, and I never tested positive, but I always get the same colds as him, just less badly and shorter in duration, so I figured there was a decent chance I recently had covid and held off on getting the shot.

The second time, now, he definitely has symptomatic covid. He tested negative and we hadn't been isolating, we thought it was an ear infection. I am still not testing positive. We are now isolating from each other and the rest of the world.

When do I get my shot update?
posted by aniola to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Four weeks after infection is the recommended amount, but if you're testing negative and are asymptomatic then there's no real reason to delay. Get it whenever you like.

Incidentally, if he is testing negative, then it may be a non-covid infection. There are a lot of other viruses and bugs going around at the moment.
posted by knapah at 1:11 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: He was testing negative and is now testing positive.
posted by aniola at 1:14 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]

The current guidance from sources I trust is that there’s no added benefit in waiting. Don’t get it whilst you are actively infected, but go ahead and get it as soon as you aren’t. Incidentally, you can lower in home transmission rates significantly if both of you wear N95 or better masks in the house. There’s even some (low level) evidence that it will help him recover faster by trapping virus particles rather than putting them out into the air where he can re-inhale them, helps to lower viral load. Best of luck to both of you.
posted by Bottlecap at 1:49 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]

From recent reporting in the NYTimes: "Doctors and immunologists said that, in general, people should wait four to six months after immunization to get a booster. Likewise, if you were recently infected with the coronavirus, you might want to wait that same amount of time before getting another shot.

That’s because your body will probably not generate much of an immune response so soon after a previous encounter with the virus, Aubree Gordon, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, said. “Your immunity level is so high that you’ll just neutralize immediately the antigen that’s being produced — you kind of reach a ceiling,” she said. “You don’t have that much higher to go.”

And keep in mind that once you do get the new booster, it typically takes around one to two weeks for your antibodies to kick in, Dr. Gordon said."

Here is another doctor explaining that there is a benefit to wait 4-6 months after an infection in terms of making the booster more effective.

The CDC recommends to wait 3 months, but that is partially to do with public health reasons vs. what the data is suggesting - i.e. there is a sense sticking with one consistent timeline is easier for the public to digest.
posted by coffeecat at 3:05 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Doctor: ‘Wait 6 months after infection’ before new booster

This is exactly the problem. I don't know if I've even ever been infected because I consistently test negative but have been very quite exposed, so I don't know which set of "you should get your shot after X amount of time" I should be looking at.
posted by aniola at 4:00 PM on November 23

If you're not sure - just get your booster now, before you're likely to expose yourself more during this holiday season. The timeline is not about the booster having negative effects; it's about distribution of the once-scarce shots and maximum efficiency. If you do get a booster too soon after infection, it just means that the shot won't do all that much (like the second "primary" shot). But if you haven't been infected, the shot is going to be very effective.
posted by meowzilla at 4:21 PM on November 23 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: My main goal is to not spread covid. I'm not sure how my partner has gotten it twice now, the only thing we even do indoors is I go grocery shopping with an N95.

My thought after this happened the first time was
- if I had covid, I should wait because there's no point in getting a booster that's not going to be effective and then there not being an effective booster available for a while again.
- if I hadn't had covid, well, seems like my immune system is working and I'm probably not going to have a high viral load, so since I might have had covid that didn't show up on tests I should hold off until the booster will be more effective because there won't be another one for a while.

But what I'm reading here is the opposite, that I should just always instantly max out any booster available and not worry about maximizing its efficiency?
posted by aniola at 10:18 PM on November 23

Best answer: You never tested positive for covid. In that case, get the booster. Unless your husband literally never leaves the house, there's no reason to think that he caught it from you. Outdoor transmission is very real. You are in an area with community transmission (we all are) so it makes sense to protect yourself. You could get a nucleocapsid test to see if you had ever had covid, but that wouldn't tell you when and it still wouldn't give you any reason not to get the booster now. You are eligible and have no history of having had covid. You weren't symptomatic or testing positive.
posted by Bottlecap at 3:03 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You will drive yourself up a wall trying to game out whether you have ever had an asymptomatic case so mild it didn’t register on a test; throw any such case out of your calculations, it’s a hypothetical you can’t prove either way and shouldn’t make plans around.

Don’t go out right now since you’re directly exposed and could be contagious. But if you get through the next week or two and don’t have symptoms or test positive, run don’t walk to get your booster. If you do, then you wait a few months.
posted by Stacey at 5:08 AM on November 24 [3 favorites]

I had COVID back in July and I asked my doctor the same thing. He said get it early November and I did.
posted by deezil at 1:35 PM on November 27

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