Q: Will a COVID-19 vaccination affect COVID-19 test results?
A. No, COVID-19 vaccination will not affect the results of viral tests (polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen). Vaccination may affect an antibody test; a positive COVID-19 antibody test could indicate vaccination OR previous infection.
Q. Should healthcare personnel who have been vaccinated be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
A. It depends. The COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose series and high efficacy (or protection) is expected 10-14 days after the second dose. Thus, a member could potentially become infected with COVID-19 before, during or after the vaccination series and display symptoms in the post vaccination period. Providers should consider the following when making testing decisions:
- Cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell are unlikely to be related to COVID-19 vaccination, and testing should be considered for these members. If antigen testing is used and is negative, confirmation testing should be confirmed by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test;
- Most systemic post-vaccination symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscles, or body aches) occur within three days of vaccination and resolve within one to two days after starting. Testing may be considered in these situations. Please refer to the most recent CDC Guidance for Post Vaccine Considerations for Healthcare Personnel.