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Do people with COVID-19 breakthroughs need boosters? And when?

Doctors say fully vaccinated people who had a COVID-19 infection have some boosted immunity. Here's what they should consider when planning a booster shot.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recipients are going out after getting the regulatory green light late last week.

Under the current emergency use authorizations, at-risk groups who got Pfizer's or Moderna's vaccine can get boosters at least six months after their second doses. Any adult who got Johnson & Johnson can get a booster two months after their single dose.

RELATED: Yes, most Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recipients are now eligible for a booster shot

But those who had breakthrough COVID-19 infections after becoming fully vaccinated might want to wait a bit longer before scheduling their booster dose.

Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant Health, said that is because those people would have protection from vaccination, plus boosted immunity from the infection.

"Getting COVID is going to increase your neutralizing antibodies again because your memory B cells get activated again," Priest said.

Priest also said, the more severe the infection, the stronger the immunity would be.

Earlier in the pandemic, when doses were more limited, doctors were advising people to wait 90 days after infection before getting vaccinated, since that person would have some lingering natural immunity and their doses could be used for someone else without any.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises to wait, at the very least, until a person's COVID-19 isolation period is over. However, the CDC no longer has a specific ideal waiting period. The CDC does encourage people who previously had COVID-19 to get vaccinated and get a booster shot.

Priest advises, in this case, a longer wait might serve a person better.

"I've encouraged people -- if you've had two doses and COVID, there's no need to rush out and get booster doses," Priest said. "Consider yourself as having had three doses then."

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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