Vaccines offer more reliable and effective protection against COVID than previous infection, so it’s important to stay up to date on your vaccines regardless of whether you’ve had COVID in the past or not. You can get boosted as soon as you meet the criteria for ending self-isolation after you’re sick. Some doctors recommend waiting a few weeks or months after infection to maximize the amount of protection you can get - since immediately after you have COVID you have higher protection, waiting a few weeks to get the booster means you’ll have a few extra weeks of protection down the line. But that’s generally only advised for people who are at very low risk. Especially with Omicron, we see more and more reinfection in short periods of time, implying that the “natural immunity” after an Omicron infection is weaker - and certainly much less effective than the protection of vaccines. If you’ve recently had COVID and have questions about when to time your booster dose, talk to your doctor. If it’s been more than five months since you’ve had COVID, you should absolutely get your booster dose ASAP.
This is a tough situation, and as time goes on, it’s less about changing the vocal anti-vaxxer’s mind and more about combating misinformation for the few that might still be on the fence - either about initial vaccination or their booster. Listen to the specific misinformation to understand what the concern centers around. Is it concerns about what they’re made of, the speed at which they were produced, microchips? Understanding the specific false information is key. Then, offer clear, simple, and accurate information about that aspect of vaccines, the more memorable the better. Check out this graphic from the CDC and UNICEF that we like about how best to address mis- or disinformation.
We’re getting this question regularly now that many test kits are at or approaching their expiration dates. The first thing to do is check that brand’s website to see if they’ve posted an FDA extension to the expiration date, since many brands now have six month extensions. These same exact tests have 24 month expiration dates in Europe. These are the only types of tests for which the FDA is calculating expiration dates from manufacture and quality assurance testing date, rather than others later in the process, which is why the expiration dates are so short. The FDA has not yet had the bandwidth to stress test them for time and temperature, which is part of the hold up.
According to Mara Aspinall, a testing expert from Arizona State, there are several factors in determining how long after the expiration date a test can be safely used. Most importantly, how were the test kits stored? If they were not refrigerated and not kept at high temps like in hot cars, some experts say they would continue to use them for at least 3 months beyond their expiration dates (but please check with the manufacturer, the FDA, and/or your supplier before making that decision).