Can you have Covid vaccine if you have a cold? Advice for receiving jab when feeling unwell explained
You should still get vaccinated if you have contracted coronavirus before your appointment
Millions of people in the UK have now received their first or second dose of the Covid vaccine.
The rollout, which began with the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, is the biggest in the history of the NHS.
As more people become eligible to be given a vaccine, many are asking what they can expect from their appointment.
A common query is whether you can receive the jab if you are already unwell.
So, can you get the coronavirus vaccine if you have a cold or other illness?
Here is everything you need to know.
Can I get the Covid vaccine if I’m not well?
The UK Government has released guidance for people receiving their Covid vaccine.
There is a dedicated frequently asked questions section that includes what people should do if they feel unwell before they receive their jab.
According to the guidance, if you are ill when you have your appointment, you should wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine.
Furthermore, if you are self-isolating or waiting for your coronavirus test result you should also not attend your appointment.
The guidance states: “If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible.
“You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or unsure if you are fit and well.”
Meanwhile, the advice in Scotland is similar but dependent on how severe your illness is.
The NHS Inform guidance states: “If you're unwell on the day of your appointment, you should still go for your vaccination if it's a minor illness without fever.
“If you feel very unwell your vaccine may be postponed until you have fully recovered.
“Do not attend your vaccine appointment if you feel unwell with symptoms of coronavirus. Self-isolate and book a test instead.”
If you have further questions about your upcoming appointment if you are feeling unwell, contact your GP who will be able to assist you.
Should you still get the vaccine if you’ve had Covid?
If you have tested positive for coronavirus before, you may have built up some immunity to the virus.
You’ll most likely have antibodies - proteins that circulate in the blood and recognise foreign substances like viruses - T cells and B cells.
People who have recovered from the virus have been found to have all of these components.
While scientists still don’t know for certain how long immunity from coronavirus lasts, recent studies have provided some answers.
One led by Public Health England showed that most people who have had the virus are protected from catching it again for at least five months.
However, it is likely that this natural immunity won’t last as long as the immunity given to you by a vaccine, and you can still be reinfected and pass on the virus to others even if you have no symptoms.
For these reasons, you should still take up the jab even if you have been infected with Covid before.
The NHS Inform guidance states: “Even if you’ve already had coronavirus, you could still get it again.
“The vaccine will reduce your risk of another infection and the seriousness of your symptoms if you do get it again.
“If you've recently tested positive for coronavirus – even if you have no symptoms – you should wait until 4 weeks after the date you were tested before getting the vaccine.
“The vaccine is your best protection against coronavirus.”
Can you catch Covid after having the vaccine?
Each Covid vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of you suffering from the virus.
It takes your body a week or two to build up some protection from a first dose.
But, like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective.
It is possible that you may still get coronavirus despite being inoculated, but the illness should be less severe.
The UK Government advises that you should continue to take the recommended precautions to avoid becoming reinfected.