Fauci says people who get Covid between vaccine shots can get second dose soon after recovery

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci talks to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

People who get infected with the coronavirus between Covid-19 vaccine shots can get their second dose after they’ve recovered from the illness and are no longer considered contagious, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

Pfizer‘s and Moderna‘s Covid vaccines require two doses given three to four weeks apart. Both vaccines are about 95% effective against the virus, but that strong protection doesn’t kick in until two weeks after the second dose, officials say.

Some people have reported being diagnosed with Covid after receiving their first vaccine shot and before receiving their second shot. When that happens, Fauci said, they can get their second dose after they have recovered from the disease and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have had Covid-19 can be around others after a minimum of 10 days, 24 hours with no fever and when other symptoms, if any, are improving.

Fauci also noted a small percentage of fully vaccinated people are still expected to contract Covid-19 – called “breakthrough cases.” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday that U.S. health officials confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases of Covid-19 out of 84 million Americans with full protection against the virus.

Fauci said officials don’t yet understand the risk of developing lingering symptoms, also known as “long Covid,” after a breakthrough case post-vaccination.

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