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Is One Vaccine Dose Enough After COVID-19 Infection?

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

COVID-19 vaccination record card
Credit: iStock/Bill Oxford

For the millions of Americans now eligible to receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, it’s recommended that everyone get two shots. The first dose of these mRNA vaccines trains the immune system to recognize and attack the spike protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The second dose, administered a few weeks later, boosts antibody levels to afford even better protection. People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 also should definitely get vaccinated to maximize protection against possible re-infection. But, because they already have some natural immunity, would just one shot do the trick? Or do they still need two?

A small, NIH-supported study, published as a pre-print on medRxiv, offers some early data on this important question [1]. The findings show that immune response to the first vaccine dose in a person who’s already had COVID-19 is equal to, or in some cases better, than the response to the second dose in a person who hasn’t had COVID-19. While much more research is needed—and I am definitely not suggesting a change in the current recommendations right now—the results raise the possibility that one dose might be enough for someone who’s been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and already generated antibodies against the virus.

These findings come from a research team led by Florian Krammer and Viviana Simon, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. The researchers reasoned that for folks whose bodies have already produced antibodies following a COVID-19 infection, the first shot might act similarly to the second one in someone who hadn’t had the virus before. In fact, there was some anecdotal evidence suggesting that previously infected people were experiencing stronger evidence of an active immune response (sore arm, fever, chills, fatigue) than never-infected individuals after getting their first shots.

What did the antibodies show? To find out, the researchers enlisted the help of 109 people who’d received their first dose of mRNA vaccines made by either Pfizer or Moderna. They found that those who’d never been infected by SARS-CoV-2 developed antibodies at low levels within 9 to 12 days of receiving their first dose of vaccine.

But in 41 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies prior to getting the first shot, the immune response looked strikingly different. They generated high levels of antibodies within just a few days of getting the vaccine. Compared across different time intervals, previously infected people had immune responses 10 to 20 times that observed in uninfected people. Following their second vaccine dose, it was roughly the same story. Antibody levels in those with a prior infection were about 10 times greater than the others.

Both vaccines were generally well tolerated. But, because their immune systems were already in high gear, people who were previously infected tended to have more symptoms following their first shot, such as pain and swelling at the injection site. They also were more likely to report other less common symptoms, including fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain.

Though sometimes it may not seem like it, COVID-19 and the mRNA vaccines are still relatively new. Researchers haven’t yet been able to study how long these vaccines confer immunity to the disease, which has now claimed the lives of more than 500,000 Americans. But these findings do suggest that a single dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can produce a rapid and strong immune response in people who’ve already recovered from COVID-19.

If other studies support these results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might decide to consider whether one dose is enough for people who’ve had a prior COVID-19 infection. Such a policy is already under consideration in France and, if implemented, would help to extend vaccine supply and get more people vaccinated sooner. But any serious consideration of this option will require more data. It will also be up to the expert advisors at FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decide.

For now, the most important thing all of us can all do to get this terrible pandemic under control is to follow the 3 W’s—wear our masks, wash our hands, watch our distance from others—and roll up our sleeves for the vaccine as soon as it’s available to us.


[1] Robust spike antibody responses and increased reactogenicity in seropositive individuals after a single dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. Krammer F et al. medRxiv. 2021 Feb 1.


COVID-19 Research (NIH)

Krammer Lab (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY)

Simon Lab (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)

NIH Support: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


  • Jennifer K says:

    My hubby and I had Covid Nov 2020. We had our 1st vaccine dose March 17th. We both had sore arms and felt a little flu for a few days, but no major symptoms and it was definitely not as bad as having Covid! We are scheduled to have second dose Apr 14th and will get the second dose.

    • Holly H. says:

      I am in the same boat as you, My hubby and I just got vaccinated the 2nd time. Small flu like reactions, but well worth it. We both had COVID inJanuary of 2021.

    • D Bish says:

      Thank Jennifer for your post here. Husband and i are scheduled for #2 on 4/20. Hope all goes well with your 2nd shot. Please let us know how it goes.

  • Carol M says:

    I had covid 19 in December and received my first vacciine March 9th and suffered for 3 weeks with varying side effects, some more severe than others. I’m in doubt about getting the second shot because I was so miserable after the first.

    • Diane says:

      Carol- I, too, had COVID in December and was so sick after my first Moderna Vaccine. I swore I would not get the second. Then I started worrying about travelling and the possibility of “COVID Passports” and I pressured myself into getting the second dose. Nothing really happened except a sore arm and a little malaise for one day! I think I mounted an antibody response after the first vaccine so it was easier after the second. Good luck with your decision.

      • Ann says:

        Diane, thank you for posting. I had COVID in February and got the Moderna shot a few weeks later. I was so very sick and swore that I would NOT get the second shot. My doctor reassured me that the second dose would not produce the same strong response. I’m schedule for my second shot on April 21. I will update on here.

        • Behram says:

          If that was the case, Ann, you are supposed to wait 90 days before getting the second shot. That’s the recommendation.

          • Ann says:

            I have received several mixed messages on when to get the vaccine. The contact tracer from the Dept of Health said to get the vaccine as soon as the 10-day isolation period was over (provided I was symptom free), the CDC says there is no need to wait 90 days, my primary care doctor advises to wait 90 days after COVID, however, now says for me to proceed with the second shot since I already started the process. I still agonize over whether/when to get the second shot.

          • dawn says:

            Behram, the Moderna second vaccine is given 3 to 4 weeks after the first one,

      • Susan says:

        thank you Diane! I have been waiting for someone to let us know how the second vaccine was after having Covid and side effects from the first. I had pretty strong effects after first Pfizer, but only for 24 hours. I am scheduled for my second dose this Wednesday and am pretty nervous about it. This gives me hope! Thanks again

        • Ellen C. says:

          Same here–COVID in early December, 1st Pfizer shot 3/25, COVID-like symptoms the next day (101-102 fever, achy, tired), but mostly fine the day after that; 2nd shot is 4/15. My over-80 parents had COVID in November and their Pfizer shots a week ahead of me but no side effects except arm soreness.

          • Holly H. says:

            I had COVID in January. On March 09 I got my first Moderna Vaccination and I had a reaction. Chills and exhaustion. So did my husband who had also had COVID in January. Two days ago we had our 2nd Moderna vaccination.We had the same reactions. Chills and tiredness. It did go away after 36 hours. So it wasn’t too bad. So that’s my experience from a person who had COVID and got the two vaccinations.

          • Susan says:

            Thank you! My second shot is tomorrow. I am a little nervous as I had side effects after the first! I guess it all varies from person to person. I will let you know how I make out.

        • Deborah B. says:

          Keep us posted. We are all looking for answers. 2nd Moderna scheduled for 4/20th.

          • Ken says:

            Thank you Susan, Deborah, and Holly for your updates. I had Covid in late December 2019 when it couldn’t possibly have been in San Francisco because there were no positive (or negative) tests yet. I described my reactions here with posts on March 8 and 14.

            I have read each post here since and grew frustrated with the cascade of posts asking if anyone previously infected had their second shot yet. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I realized there was only one way to find out what sort of reaction I would have. So I got my second Moderna jab 3 days ago (Apr 16).

            I realized that my prior muscle spasms after my first shot were likely related to an ongoing electrolyte balance issue I’ve had and were probably accentuated by dehydration after the shot. So, this time I cleared several days from my schedule and stayed well hydrated, salted, and in bed.

            I got little sleep that night and by the 24 hour mark had a fever over 101, with severe chills that night. I spent 2 days in bed or on the couch while luckily my wife and daughter took care of me. By day three (now), my temperature is back to my normal 97 and I feel fine.

            If this were a flu shot nobody would ever get it because the cure could be so similar to the disease. But for such a communicable disease with high probabilities of mortality for someone in my group, I am now glad I got it.

      • Jade says:

        Shouldn’t even need a shot after covid! I had covid 14 months ago and today my serology test came back with extremely high antibodies! There fire why would you need the vaccine? You dont

        • Peg says:

          Totally agree with you.
          My husband and myself over a year later still have antibodies also . I don’t know why the medical community is so slow to be on top of the research that is now coming out, that those who have had Covid, even mild cases have long lasting and possibly life long immunity without a vaccine. I wish this would stop being politicized and let people make decisions based on their own needs.

        • Peg says:

          I’m in total agreement with you Jade. More studies are coming out supporting the fact that those with natural immunity from recovery could have long term immunity possibly lasting for years (SARS-1 recovered patients have had it for 17 years). It annoys me they (media and politicians) don’t want to acknowledge those of us who had it and recovered. Vaccination is and should be a choice for those of us who have had it. I got 1 shot which many studies I read said was plenty to boost an already active immunity – I was still testing with antibodies 9 months after I had it when I got the shot, but those who don’t want to get the shot and have recovered from Covid should not be pressured. ( And just so you know, the only reason I got the shot was to appease younger family members who were “scared” for my welfare, not because I felt I needed to.)

        • Dana K says:

          I was sick with Covid for 3 weeks in April 2020, and I had an antibody test on May 16, 2021. It came back positive with an index of 2.89000.
          I have yet to find anyone who can interpret those numbers in terms of effectiveness to another infection. Can anyone recommend a resource for a definitive answer?
          Thank you.

      • Matthew J Cannold says:

        Diane – So I am in the same boat as you and felt terrible after the first Moderna Shot. I also swore I wouldn’t get the second. Four months later, and two daughters, an X wife, and mother riding me like they were trying t break a wild mustang, I gave in and got it about 1 hour ago. Coincidentally, I got my results back from getting my “Anti bodies” tested and was told anything over 1.0 was good. I have over 20.0. Unfortunately, I got these results literally five minutes AFTER receiving the second dose of Moderna. I am literally waiting for the worst 3-4 days as everyone who gets Moderna says the 2nd is worse than the first. Not happy! Are you saying you did NOT have much of a response to the 2nd shot and you think its because you had high antibodies? Looking for anything to give me hope it wont be so bad. Appreciate your time – Matt

        • maryann baron says:

          Which antibody test did you have that gave you a reading of 20? Was it a measurement of the antibodies to the N protein (this measures antibodies generated from an actual infection) or a measurement of antibodies generated by the vaccine against the SPIKE protein which is what the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine attack. The vaccine does not address the N protein and was not meant to. What lab was your blood sent to?

    • Patty says:

      My daughter and I both had Covid in December. We just got our first dose of the Moderna vaccine and we have been sick for two days so far with fever, muscle aches, etc. Hopefully this won’t last. I also do not want to get the second dose. If it’s not completely necessary why put more of the vaccine into our system? They need to figure out a way to note this on the vaccine passport so that we’re not penalized for not getting the second dose.

      • Tiffany says:

        More reason for us to argue against a vaccine passport. What happens when they say we have to be immunized every single year? What if one year you’re not able to be vaccinated? I’ve had covid and am 1 vaccine in so far. I think vaccine passports are *** and could be easily forged as well. No one is looking up your vaccine lot number to verify that it is tied to you.

      • Monica says:

        Yes!! I got Covid last November 2020. Two months ago had an immune response test 1.21. Anything over 1 is good. Debating on whether to get 1 shot? I have a blood disease where my bone marrow produces too many platelets so I want the least amount of vaccine as possible in my system, plus I’ve been a vegetarian vegan and have lived a very healthy lifestyle since age 18 and I’m 54. I’m one of the sensitive types, got sick on 1/4 the dose of oxycotin when I had gum surgery, vomited during a colonoscopy from the anesthesia. I use herbal remedies first before taking medications and regularly take immune building products. TOUGH DECISION FOR ME…

  • veronica t. says:

    I had Covid for 3 weeks in January. I received a Monoclonal infusion. I had my 1st vaccine end of March as I was told to wait about 90 days post diagnosis. The night after vaccination, I felt fatigue and achey. After 3 days my arm swelled with a rash which has lingered a few days. While I may not need a 2nd shot, I am concerned about future traveling restrictions that require a record of 2 shots when I have only needed 1. My doc is willing to write a letter stating that but I don’t know if that will be honored by Security and other authorities especially in other countries.

    • Emily says:

      I too had covid right before NYE. I just got my first Pfizer shot today was hoping to get the JnJ today, but of course they pulled it! I’m undecided about getting the second. There are already so many studies about getting a second dose after having COVID. My guess is over the next few months there will be some type of recommendation that if you had COVID you don’t need 2 doses. All the research is saying it is basically a waste of a shot to give people 2 who were previously infected by Covid…

    • Steve S. says:

      I tested positive on 2-24-21 and on 2-25 had the monoclonal antibody infusion and had a very mild covid illness. I waited the required 90 days for my first Moderna poke and had a terrible reaction. Fever, intense night sweats, chills so bad that I couldn’t stop shaking. After 2-3 days fever gone and most other side effects are gone. It’s now 17 days post vaccine #1 and still very mild sore arm but not bothersome. I’m scheduled for the second vaccine on June 25th and am glad to hear side effects aren’t as bad for some people. I’ve still cleared three days from my schedule after the second poke.

  • Marie Beauregard says:

    I know MANY more people that have suffered horrible side effects from the vaccine than from COVID itself. We don’t know the long term side affects either. Most people that have received the vaccine are doing it just to get things back to normal and guess what….things aren’t getting back to normal.

    • Avery M says:

      What were these horrible side effects if I may ask Marie? Or perhaps you are exaggerating? Compared to COVID-19 itself I am skeptical those side effects were worse (i.e. death)

      • Paula says:

        My side effects from the Pfizer 1st dose was worse than when I had Covid. I am not exaggerating. I didn’t know I had Covid until I lost my sense of taste and smell. Other than that I thought it was just a stomach bug. I will not be getting the second shot. There are more studies that have come out in the last couple weeks saying the same as this study with previously infected folks.

      • Hix says:

        I’m another one that had Covid previously (last year) and when I received my first Pfizer shot, I was very ill from it, more so than when I was actually ill with Covid-19. I was scared to death to get the second and the only reason I did (just yesterday) is due to travel. The symptoms I’m having from the second are fatigue, arm soreness and aching in my legs. So far, better than 1st shot. So yes, some of us are having a MUCH worse experience with the 1st vaccine (if previously infected) than the actual illness. I can vouch for that.

        • JMR says:

          Curious if anyone was asked about having previous COVID and their antibody levels before being vaxxed. Saw that the FDA EUAs only had 473 (Pfizer of ~40k trial participants) and 341 (Moderna of ~30k trial participants) in the Vax arm. Tried to get age stratification on that from the FDA, but they were unable to provide under EUA. Seems like a big question mark in terms of dosage for those that already have natural immunity.

          • Annie says:

            JMR, I was 99% certain I had Covid-19 in March 2020. Never saw a doc or went to hospital, so never got tested. Had all symptoms of “mild” case. Lost sense of smell and taste for a couple of days. Felt heavy fatigue, muscle pain snd weakness and joint pain for months after (Long Covid). Finally feeling better by fall. Got first Moderna vaccine in early March 2021. Started having progressively worse Long Covid symptoms for next 5 weeks. Opted not to get second Moderna vax. Got a semi-quantitative Covid-19 antibody test 5 weeks after first vax. Antibody levels were high-doc said higher than most people she’d talked to who’d had antibody test. Based on my symptoms from last year and antibody levels, she said I probably was fine not getting second shot due to already having Covid. I know they want to get as many people fully vaccinated as possible but it seems like overkill to give 2 doses to those who are certain or relatively certain they already had Covid.

          • Sally Jean Lawrence says:

            After reading what Annie says about Long Covid below I think we need to get my husband tested for antibodies. He only just got over LC in April after we both contracted Covid last Christmas. It got into his liver and kidneys, then his heart, then lungs. Thankfully the Covid inhaler stopped it from becoming an in-patient event. But now here he is a week after the 1st vaccine with swollen hands and having to take blood pressure pills again. We both feel exhausted. Thanks for mentioning that we could check his antibody levels. We should have done that before the shot. We won’t risk a second if we don’t need to.

  • Mike N says:

    So far everyone has commented on here about getting the first shot and their reactions. Anyone go ahead and get the second shot? If so was your reaction the same, worse or better than the first. I’m due for April 19th 2nd Shot of Pfizer. Still debating it.

    • Karen says:

      Mike, my mother got Moderna: second dose just sore arm, nothing else except maybe a little lowering of blood pressure, which went back up to her normal the next day. After her first dose, she had the aches, chills, headache, fatigue, slight fever (99)..most of which went away after a few days.. She’s 92. This runs counter to what is commonly said about the second dose being worse than the first, but I spoke to a nurse who had the same experience…reaction to first, none to second. Pharmacist who gave my mother the shots also said he’d witnessed that pattern…ie, in people who’d had an adverse reaction to the first dose, there was little to no reaction after the second. The nurse and my mother both are type O blood….don’t know how or if this might play a part. Another type O woman I know (in her 80s) had no reaction to either the first or the second dose of Moderna. Hope this helps somewhat.

      • Mike N says:

        Did your mother have Covid?

        • Karen says:

          No, she did not. Should have included that, sorry. She was never tested for it either, however. She is O-negative; a cousin who is O-positive did test positive for covid….he had nothing but a slight fever and headache for one night, was fine the next day…I haven’t heard back on whether he went ahead with the vaccination though. The symptoms of headache, slight fever, chronic body aches/pain are common everyday occurrences for my mother (and myself…also O-negative…I will be getting my first dose next week). I’ve wondered for some time if type Os may be the asymptomatic carriers. I too am curious to know results after second dose in those who previously had covid and who had a substantial reaction to the first dose.

          • Lindsey says:

            My BF and I are both Type O+ (and in our mid-40s). We got our first Pfizer shots on Tuesday, April 6. No apparent reaction to the shots for either of us at the time. But, by Friday, April 9, my BF had covid symptoms. He got a covid test on Sunday, April 11 and it was positive. He has since gone on to have a really bad case of covid with breathing issues, fever for 10 days straight, lost oxygen and had to go the to hospital. It has been terrible. He is recovering now, but his case was more moderate than mild. We assume he was exposed to covid before getting the shot.

            I felt a little achey on Friday, April 16, so I got a test on Saturday, April 17. If I hadn’t known that I was exposed to covid, I wouldn’t have thought anything of feeling achey or suspected I had it. I tested positive, and I assume I still have it as write this 5 days later. I have basically no symptoms, except for loss of smell. I hope I don’t get any worse, but so far, my case is nothing like what my BF experienced.

            Anyway, just wanted to provide you with information about how two different O+ people had covid.

            Also, if anyone reading this has any insight: Do we still need the second vaccine shots if we got covid after the first shot? I am worried he will have a reaction this time.

          • Karen says:

            Lindsey, thanks for sharing that information. I’m interested in reactions by blood type, and any info that could help refine theories. Hope you and your friend have a full recovery….did your friend have any underlying conditions that you/he knew of? .
            Sorry I haven’t much insight into the second dose question….you present an anomalous situation, with covid infection fairly simultaneous with first vaccine dose. You said you assumed you both had covid prior to the first Pfizer dose….have you got any guesses on how/when that might have happened? I think quantity of virus is emerging as a factor in severity of covid, but don’t quote me on that…I don’t have the source handy; it may have been something I saw fleetingly on some news show on TV. In any case, going forward, best of luck and health to you both.

    • Holly H says:

      Mike N- My reaction to the 2nd vaccine was the same as the first shot’s reaction. My husband and I had chills, body aches and tiredness for about 36hours. It hit us 10 hours after the actual vaccination. Not too bad. We both had COVID in mid January 2021 for 14 days. let me know if you get this reply.

    • Heidi Thornley says:

      I had Covid in December. Got my first vaccine the end of March. I had fatigue, aches, and malaise for a day. I was hesitant to get my second dose, but I got it yesterday. It’s been almost 24 hours now and I feel slightly off, with a sore arm, but nothing compared to the sickness with the first dose. Second dose isn’t always worse than the first!

    • Luci says:

      I he Covid, I got moderna shot 1, got superficial clots after and had fever fr ‘‘twas after shot. Dr told me no to 2nd shot. My husband had mild case, got 1rst shot, his dr tod him n to 2nd shot.

    • Edwin says:

      There was NO Covid-19 test way back in December 2019. I went to the office and worked during that December 26-31, 2019 time frame and immediately got a high-fever and asked my supervisor if I can go home because I felt sick. I got the high fever and joint pains that lasted 2 weeks. I worked from home since I am a computer programmer. I took my first jab of the Moderna vaccine in June 10, 2021. I only had swelling on the left arm where the Moderna vaccine was injected. I was okay after a day with minor pain in my left arm. I thought I had immunity from CovId-19 already because I did not have any bad symptoms after the first jab, but 9-days later June 19, 2021 (a Saturday), I heard a loud phone ring in my left ear and also felt a bee sting in my left ear after the loud phone ring. I got nervous and called Rite-Aid on June 21, 2021 (Monday) to report my case. I got hold of the VAERS reaction reporting website and entered my symptoms/reactions to the Moderna vaccine and saved a copy of the entry that I submitted. I never took the second jab because I was afraid to get Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) if I continue with the second vaccine dose. Kent Taylor, owner of the Texas restaurant committed suicide because of tinnitus as he was having constant ringing in his ears. There are lots of people having tinnitus side effects after taking the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine. I also do not want the risk of losing my hearing if the tinnitus became persistent if I take the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. There were other side effects I felt weeks later after the first dose, minor heart palpitations and skin blood clots in my right arm which occurred recently and noticed it September 17, 2021 and was just gone this week ending September 24, 2021. I have been taking Fish oil supplement with Vitamin D3 for almost 3 years now and just read an article that Vitamin D3 offer good resistance to Covid-19 which can be the reason, I never felt any severe symptoms after my December 2019 high-fever and joint aches and the 1st jab of the Moderna vaccine, but I did not anticipate ringing in my ears as a side effect. I never took took the second jab as I fear of losing my hearing.

  • Tana Kalnbach says:

    As a school nurse (RN, BSN), everyone that I know who had the disease (at least 30 staff) and then received the vaccine series, became very ill with flu-like symptoms for 1-4 days. Many said it was worse than having the disease. Senseless suffering.

    • Annie says:

      I was scheduled to get the second dose of Moderna on April 3rd. After much research and agonizing, I made the decision to cancel my appointment. Today, an article came out in the NYT stating the very good reasons from a public health standpoint for getting first doses in as many arms as possible before giving second doses. For those of us who already had Covid-19, the second dose of the vaccine within 4 weeks may be superfluous. Longer spacing may also turn out to be more effective (as they’ve done in the EU). It also seems greedy to take the second dose for possibly 5% more protection when so many people who want the vaccine, are still unable to get their first dose and have no protection. This is an individual decision for each of us. We have to look at our individual situation as well as public health and do what feels right.

      • Paula R. says:

        I cancelled my second dose as well. My practitioner feels natural immunity is best and my one dose gave me a significant adverse reaction. It has been a month and my blood pressure is still elevated – which was normal in the months prior to receiving the vaccine. I wish the CDC would catch up on these facts as many docs in the US just say – we recommend what the CDC recommends.

      • Mike says:

        While I agree with you for cancelling your appointment because you had COVID and don’t need two shots, I don’t believe anyone is in need of a shot and can’t find one. Not sure where you are located but there are plenty of vaccines available and they are at this point having to wait for people to show up. No lines or waiting at Federal and State sites and Pharmacies have availability within a couple of day appointments now.

        • Peg says:

          My kids in Chicago have not been able to get the vaccine. They have high risk children and grandparents they’d like to visit. Their area has not been ” approved” yet. In Fl anyone can get it but not there. It just depends how well your state government functions.

          • Debbie says:

            Peg, vaccines in Chicago are widely available, even as you posted this on 4/14. 4/14 happens to be my older daughter’s birthday; she turned 16 and got the Pfizer vaccine on 4/26. I (her mom) got the Pfizer vaccine 4/29. I booked appointments through the Cook County Health clinics. We received our dose at the same suburban city we live in. Tell your kids in Chicago to go there.
            Re: symptoms after vaccine, my daughter did not have Covid prior, despite the rest in our immediate family getting it, including me in mid November. My daughter had only a sore arm after the first vaccination. I developed symptoms about 6 hours after the vaccine, beginning with minor body aches (mainly my back). However, about 12 hours after the vaccine I developed a fever of 102’, chills, and a headache. All of my symptoms subsided 24 hours after the vaccine shot. It’s clear from all I have read in this article and comments) that those who have had Covid develop a strong immune response after the first dose. I’d say this makes sense and I feel this proves my body recognized the virus and put up a fight.
            Symptoms from the vaccine are minimal compared to Covid. Although I had a mild case of Covid, I experienced symptoms of skin rashes, dry patches, a few skin growths (that went away), and the worst, hair fallout. Note: hair fallout refers to a temporary condition of hair loss; hair does begin to grow back. All symptoms now resolved but anyone debating on getting the vaccine, get the vaccine. Covid is not fun.

        • Annie says:

          It was very difficult to schedule my first vaccine in March. I spent hours signing up multiple places. Finally, found an appointment an hour away. A friend had to drive 2 hours away to get vaccinated-he is 65 and his wife is 70. We both live in Ohio near different, large metropolitan areas. He had to go to a very rural area to find an appointment. I found one in a small town. This week I was finally notified (mid-April) of available vaccine appointments at a hospital-still an hour away. I’m 66, so well past the time where my age group opened up for vaccines. When I cancelled my vaccine appointment in early April, I have no doubt someone was happy to grab that appointment slot on a Saturday afternoon.

      • Tony says:

        I got my first does about a month ago March 28th or so 2021. I’ve had sinus tachycardia, diarrhea, weakness, high blood pressure, low grade fever of 100 since Friday night April 30, 2021. I went to the hospital Monday 5/3/21, all my tests came back good and my COVID test came back negative. I went to my doctor today 5/5/21 and he told me the blood work they did at the hospital shows I have COVID antibodies. A hard count of 208.6. he told me not to get my second dose of the vaccine tomorrow. He guesses it could be a delayed response to the first dose. Nobody knows for sure though I guess.

  • Susan says:

    Good Morning, after much thought and reading I decided to get the second Pfizer shot yesterday. I had covid in January, and double pneumonia. My first vaccine gave me side effects, like chills, headache, exhaustion..
    I received it at 10:30 am. Was fine until about 9 pm. The chills started. I woke up around midnight with such severe body aches, I have never experienced them that bad before. Took Tylenol, which would only last about 2 hours, then I had to lay in pain until I could take more. I was up vomiting, dry heaves. Shivering uncontrollably, but the body aches were the worst! I didn’t get much sleep.
    This morning, body aches are better, but I have a wicked headache. Will definitely be in bed all day.
    My husband told me he wishes I didn’t get the second shot. Believe me so do I. I did a lot of reading and most people told me if you had bad side effects with your first you should be fine with your second. Well, not me. It was the sickest I have ever felt in my life.
    I wish I knew why I had such a bad reaction. So many people I know, young, old, male and female had not side effects at all. Not sure why I was the unfortunate one.

    • Ann says:

      Susan, I am so sorry to hear that you are having intense side effects again. I am scheduled for my second shot on the 21st and am so scared, but I am going for it. Hang in there, you are almost to the finish line! Please let us know how you are doing.

    • Mike says:

      Sorry it was that bad for you. Hopefully you are starting to feel better. I’m cancelling my 2nd appointment now. Had COVID and had one shot. I’m good.

      • Susan says:

        Mike, I wish I skipped the second dose. 80% would have been enough for me! Good Luck

      • Holly H says:

        Susan and Mike. I had COVID in January and last Sat. my husband and I got our second Moderna. Just like you we had Chills, body aches and were very tired. It happened about 9 hours after our vaccinations. Luckily we were only down and out for about 36 hours.

        • Susan says:

          Thanks for your reply Holly. My effects started around 10 hours after vaccine. The body aches that I had were so horrible all night long! I can deal with chills and tired. The dry heaves were the worst too! I am so glad its over. Can’t believe we may have to get another booster in 12 months. I also don’t understand how so many people have no side effects. It’s crazy the difference from person to person. My husband is getting his second vaccine on Saturday, lets see how he does with it!

    • Annie says:

      Susan, I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with debilitating side effects to the second Pfizer vaccine. Please report this to VSafe, the CDC app that’s tracking vaccine side effects. Hopefully, they will eventually amend their advice to those who have recently had the virus to either hold off on getting the vaccine or at least advise to not get the booster if you’ve already had a severe reaction to the first jab. Hoping you get through this tough time very soon and begin to feel better. Please keep us posted.

    • Tana Kalnbach says:

      Every person I know that had the disease is getting significantly ill from the vaccine; at least 30 people.

  • Tom A. says:

    I got the Moderna shot about 4 weeks ago. On the day I was to receive the second shot I didnt feel well, cancelled the appointment and got tested. The result was positive for the Covid. I was mildly ill for two days and recovered now. Some are urging me to get the second shot asap, others are saying between the first shot and the infection, my immune response should be on par or better than two shots. While I’ll continue to research this I am hugely favoring the latter. Anybody with an experience here?

  • Ann S. says:

    Had COVID in December. Had first shot 3 weeks ago. Side effects; body aches and chills, temp of 101.2 for 2 days and a swollen nasty rash on arm for 2 weeks. My arm is still itchy at times. My blood type is AB neg (if it matters). I won’t be getting the 2nd jab at this time.

    • Annie says:

      Hi Tom, I am relatively certain i had Covid-19 in March 2020 although was never tested. Had first Moderna vaccine on March 6, 2020. Felt funky (like I had Long Covid) for much of the next 4 weeks. After much research, I opted to cancel my second dose on April 3rd. Last week I had a semi-quantitative antibody test for SARS-CoV-2. Spoke with a doctor about my results yesterday that showed levels greater than 250. She said she’s talked to many patients who opted for just one vaccine after having unsatisfactory reactions to first dose. Basically, she said that one dose of either Pfizer or Moderna offered similar protection to the J and J vaccine. She mentioned that if you’ve already had Covid, your levels of immunity after one dose would be as good or greater than someone who had two doses of an mRNA vaccine and never had Covid-19. She also said that for those who have had Covid recently and still decide to get two doses, the second dose is probably not going to offer much, if any, additional benefit. From all the reading I’ve done, that sounds right. Everyone has to make their own decision on what’s right for their situation. I feel comfortable with my decision to only get one dose. Down the road, I may decide to get a booster to address variants. Will continue mask wearing while indoors-especially when around those whose vaccination status is unknown.

  • Deborah B says:

    Well here it is folks. Update after 2nd Modera shot for hubby and myself. Yes, we did have Covid in early Dec., 2020, down for about a week. Husband worse than me. Had 1st shot Mar 23rd, husband down for 2 days with the usual chills, fatigue, headache, myself more mild reaction, both began about 15 hours after shot. 2nd shot, April 20th, 5 hours after shot I began to feel reactions. Tylenol and to bed to wake up 2 hours later to the worse body pain I’ve every experienced, to the point of nausea. The brain fog was crazy, little to no sleep the entire night and into next day, staggered Aleve and Tylenol kept aches tolerable. Husband slept through the 1st night and had minor aches during following day. Today, day 2 after 2nd shot, we are moving a bit slow but will be heading out for planned vaca. I, personally have decided I will not be subjecting myself to any further injections (boosters). Best wishes to all here, may you all have little reactions and may we all stay healthy in the future.

    • Susan says:

      Sorry you had such bad side effects. I had the same after my second Pfizer. The body aches were so bad, never experienced anything like them. I am questioning a booster in the future also! Hope you have a great vacation!

      • Annie says:

        Hi Deborah, reading stories like yours are one of the many reasons I decided to opt out of the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Thank you for sharing. Eventually, I hope that the experts get on the same page with a consistent message with their recommendations of 2 doses in quick succession of the mRNA vaccines-especially for those who’ve had the virus within the past 6 months.

    • Ann says:

      Hi everyone. I received my second dose of Moderna on Thursday, April 21 at noon. Was feeling great until 7PM that evening when I began to experience headache, chills, body aches. I thought I could sleep it off but it got a little worse during the night. Fever, insomnia and more chills. The next day was spent on the couch or in bed. No appetite and was very weak and fatigued. By Saturday I began to feel better. I might add that the second shot was not as bad as the first. ( I had COVID in February) Was it worth it? Let’s just say that I’m glad it’s over and I am fully vaccinated! What a relief!

      • Holly says:

        My name is Holly and I will say ditto to what you said. My husband and I had COVID mid January. Had first Moderna 6 weeks ago and 2nd one two weeks ago. We had basically the same vaccine reaction as you had. It went away after 36-48 hours. The 2nd vaccine was not quite as bad as the first. I agree, we are glad we did it and it’s over. Thanks for sharing.

  • phil s. says:

    My wife is undergoing chemo treatments for gastric cancer. She received her first moderna vaccine on the 25th of March. She was in between her third and fourth chemo, and she received her 2nd vaccine on April 20th. She is in between the fourth and fifth treatment and has had zero side effects, other than a sore arm for a couple days. She is 60 years old, and we are happy her oncologist recommended her to have it.

  • RK says:

    I got my Pfizer Moderna Covid vaccine 2nd dose but didn’t get any talked about side effects except for slight soreness in the arm just for a day. Is this an expected outcome for some people?

  • Debbie says:

    I had Covid mid November, as did my husband & younger daughter. My older daughter did not get Covid (she had 2 tests 9 days apart during our illness so we know she did not have.) My older daughter turned 16 this year & wanted to get the vaccine; she received the Pfizer vaccine; her reactions after the first dose was only sore arm. I also received the Pfizer vaccine & experienced strong reactions, but I feel this is normal for someone who had Covid, as your body recognizes the vaccine and immediately develops a defense. That means your immune system is working as it should. My symptoms were mild body aches and a sore arm 6 hours after receiving the vaccine. However, 12 hours after the vaccine shot, I developed a fever of 102’, chills, and a headache. All symptoms resolved within 24 hours after the vaccine. My husband, who also had Covid as noted, received the Pfizer vaccine as well with minimal side effects (sore arm and redness at injection site, slight fatigue.) We have not gotten the second vaccine yet; scheduled in 2 weeks.
    If anyone is questioning whether to get the vaccine, I heartily say: GET THE VACCINE! YOU DON’T WANT COVID! At the time my family got Covid, a close family friend, a man of 55 in great health, also got Covid and spent 3 weeks in the hospital. He needed supplemental oxygen as he had difficulty breathing and found his oxygen saturation rate dangerously low (I believe it was 85%.) This man did have pneumonia in the past and did not know his lungs were slightly damaged from this. My husband, who has controlled asthma, had a bad bout of Covid as well. He had a fever of 103’ for 10 days. His fever would be normal or low much of the time but then spike late afternoon. He also felt really tired.
    I had a mild case of Covid, but developed long-term symptoms of 3-4 months duration. Those symptoms begin with skin rashes and sensitivity, dry skin patches, skin growths (that resolved completely), excessive skin buildup on outer ears, and hair fallout. Hair fallout is described hair loss that is temporary. My hair came out mainly on the shower; at its worst I’d guess I was losing 10x the amount I normally did. All symptoms have resolved completely, but it took 3-4 months. So please know that 3-4 days of symptoms after the vaccine is nothing.
    After reading the article and comments, I am thinking that my response to the first Pfizer dose indicates I have strong antibodies developed from having Covid and its lingering symptoms. I may delay the second dose, scheduled in 2 weeks. I may possibly not get it, but I think that I likely will. I do like the idea of getting an antibody test.

    • Tana Kalnbach says:

      As a nurse this doesn’t make sense. We know natural immunity is more protective than the vaccine. There is no reasonable medical professional that believes having significant side effects lasting days after a vaccine is acceptable. Please check out the VAERS reporting system. BTW, it’s backlogged due to reporting. All of the teachers I know in our district (hundreds) haven’t reported their adverse events because they’ve been told it’s normal to feel that ill. No it’s not.

      • Peg says:

        Thank you for posting. This makes so much sense. My husband and I had Covid June 2020. I still had antibodies 8 months later. He gives Covid convalescent blood periodically and gets tested for antibodies as of such he still has them and it’s been almost 11 months!!. From what I read natural immunity is the best. I got one dose of Pfizer in March (mainly because of fearful children) when it appeared I didn’t have antibodies that regustered in lab work. I had a 2 day headache and sore arm for 5. I believe the 1 dose is enough for me especially with our prolonged antibodies. I have been in a variety of situations and feel fine. I am not worried about getting it or varients.

  • Lisa says:

    Why get 2nd shot if studies show 3X stronger antibodies after 1 shot than 2 dose and no Covid. Crazy

  • germanaviator says:

    Here in Germany the official recommendation/guideline is to wait 6 months following confirmed infection before getting a single dose of a two-dose vaccine. No second dose recommended. Testing showed no further increase of anti-bodies after second shot in those who have previously been infected. Had Covid in November, got first (and only) BioNtech/Pzizer shot yesterday. So far I only have a slightly sore arm.

    • Jennifer P. says:

      Would love any updates on what to do if you had a tough case of COVID, and a strong negative reaction to the first Moderna, about 3 sick days….are there any more recent US or German studies backing up the theory that one shot might be OK for those that had Covid within the past 5 months? Thanks!

  • Sue T says:

    I had COVID in January, I was also lucky enough that a doc had suggested I get the infusion. That was wonderful and felt better within 36 hours. Then I got the first Moderna shot. Very sick for 3 days, felt like I had COVID all over again. I cancelled my second shot and the health dept and my docs office call me every day, and not sure why but my hair is falling out.

  • M says:

    I would like to know if there are updates on this information as I had Covid early last year, have had a long-lasting antibody response (I’m a Covid long-hauler), and had basically a bad relapse into Covid after my first Pfizer shot à couple weeks back. I would really, really like to avoid the intense chest pain and migraines again if I can.

    • Peg says:

      I would recommend not getting the second shot. I, like you, had antibodies for at least 10 mo. Had the Pfizer (to calm my kids fears) and had headaches for 2 days and a really sore (hard to use it) arm for 5 days. I canceled my second shot after a doctor friend told me it was not necessary to get a second shot if you’ve had Covid and especially if you’ve developed antibodies. I’m a bit concerned with these inflammation of the heart issues they are now discovering. I have developed heart arrhythmia in the last couple months and light headedness that I’ve not had before. I’m getting it checked out by a cardiologist and not sure if it’s related but not taking chances. I’ve survived Covid once. I’m not worried about reinfection or variants or anything else they want to try to scare Covid survivors into. We fall into a different and far less followed category than those who haven’t had it. I’m not antivax either.

      • Annie says:

        Hi M, I am also a Covid Long Hauler after getting Covid March 2020. Felt lousy for much of last year with what I now believe is fibromyalgia. Finally was feeling better by last fall. Had first Moderna vaccine in early March. Didn’t have severe reaction but do feel it brought back my Long Covid symptoms and they are still here-especially pain and heat in my calves and feet, general fatigue and feeling often that I’m in fight or flight response-overactive sympathetic nervous system. I’m glad I had the first dose of vaccine because I’m more comfortable going out and living my life again. However, I am discouraged that my Long Covid symptoms have returned. It is a journey in understanding and working with my own body in its healing for sure. I had tachycardia off and on for 11 hours on Sunday. It was scary but a wake up call. Have now given up alcohol, my one cup of coffee in the morning, and eating processed foods. Meditate daily and doing yoga again. I believe Covid causes an inflammatory response and also activates the sympathetic nervous system. Anything we do to reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory foods, reduce salt and sugar intake) and activate parasympathetic nervous system (diet, deep sleep, yoga, meditation) helps us heal. Get a semi-quantitative antibody test for Covid-19 to put your mind at ease. I’m guessing your antibody levels will be high, as mine were when I was tested in May 2021.

  • Tammy W. says:

    I got a covid 19 Moderna shot 1 in jan but i couldnt get the hospital i work for to schedule me for my second shot so do i have to start over or just get another shot now PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME …thanks

    • Ann says:

      Hi Tammy, in Europe they were encouraging people to wait to get their second dose of the mRNA vaccines for several months so they could get first doses in as many arms as possible.

  • Peg says:

    I really wish they would stop calling those of us who either don’t want the vaccine or only get one shot, “vaccine hesitant”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I get the flu vaccine every year and am scheduled for the pneumonia one in the next month. Many of us are intelligent enough to make an informed decision and should have that right without being labeled. I took all the precautions and yet still somehow contracted and survived Covid last year and do not feel I need to “comply” with someone’s idea of what they feel I should do in order to normally participate in life (shop, travel, work or enjoy entertainment). I see comments that people didn’t want to get the vaccine but in order to travel or appease others, they took it even though they suffered with side effects. I too was shamed into getting the first dose even though I didn’t need it because I still had antibodies, by a young family member who didn’t want me to die of it even though I had already survived. I will not get the second dose. I no longer wear a mask as per my state does not require it, or stay home and I have been healthy even in crowded social settings and church. If you have not had Covid, by all means get a vaccine if you want it and it makes sense for your vulnerability but please leave the rest of us alone. Stop shaming people into feeling they are reckless, unloving or foolish deniers. I just wish people would mind their own business, make decisions for themselves and stop judging the rest.

  • E Sanford says:

    Husband and I contracted Covid mid January (he is 51, I am 55). Both of us had very mild symptoms, rarely get sick. Got our first Pfizer mid April, had mild reactions that lasted less than 24 hours. Second shot mid May, even milder symptoms. Why did we get the vaccines? Cost – I don’t want to pay for negative tests. Friends and family, I wanted friends and family to feel safe amongst us as some peoples immune systems are not as robust as ours. We are healthy and strong and weathered Covid well, figured we would weather the vaccine well too and we did. Survived our vaccines when we were young. We did not feel the vaccine is as experimental as some are making it out to be as well. FYI, no we do not get the flu vaccine.

    • Annie says:

      Hello, E Sanford. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on why you and your H decided to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Posts like yours are very helpful. Like you, I chose to get the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine (Moderna) in early March. Second was scheduled for early April. Had my spike protein antibody levels checked a month later as I’d also had Covid-19 in March 2020. My levels were very high so I opted not to get the second dose one month after the first as I was experiencing a recurrence of Long Covid symptoms after first vaccine. I do plan to get a booster (second dose) in fall or winter, especially if the Delta variant continues to rage. I have never had a flu vaccine or any other vaccines as an adult, other than tetanus every 10 years, but after doing much research, feel confident that the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective and necessary if we, as a society, ever want to see an end to many deaths, hospitalizations and serious long-term illness from this virus.

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