DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective and efficient way to protect yourself from the coronavirus.

But, for those who have recently recovered from the illness, they often have questions on when is the best time to get vaccinated.

Southeast Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. George Narby says taking the vaccine too early after recovery might reduce the effectiveness of the shot.

“It’s hard to say what would happen if you got vaccinated while you were acutely ill,” Dr. Narby said. “You don’t want to induce your immune system unnecessarily and cause any problems for you. It can also be that the vaccine may in fact be less effective because your immune system is revved up for other reasons.”

While having COVID provides your system with anti-bodies to ward off a second battle with the virus, health officials say the vaccine is still crucial.

“Immunity gained from a COVID infection can wane or evaporate or disappear overtime,” Dr. Narby said. “The vaccination offers and creates a much more robust or stronger immune reaction in patients than the infection itself.”

Dr. Narby says that immunity gained just from the infection may not be protection against other variants, allowing individuals to be more susceptible to attracting the virus once again.

“There’s no guarantee that the immunity gained against one variant would be protective against another variant of COVID,” Dr. Narby said. “So if you have only been ineffective, you could be infected with COVID again in the future.”

Right now, the CDC recommends that if you have been infected with COVID-19, you should receive your vaccine after you go through the quarantine period.