If you had COVID-19, you should still get a vaccine
Your natural immunities don't last forever.
Madisonville, KY (April 19, 2021) – There are several reasons why someone who’s been infected with COVID-19 should still get the vaccine when they’re eligible. This includes people who have serious cases, involving hospitalization, as well as mild and even asymptomatic infections.
Your natural immunities don’t last forever.
“Once you’ve recovered from COVID-19, your level of antibodies will begin to diminish,” said Baptist Health Madisonville Chief Medical Officer Wayne Lipson, MD. “Everyone responds differently, and this virus is still relatively new. So we don’t yet have enough data to predict how you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have recovered from COVID-19, although not common, you could potentially be infected again.”
Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important parts of COVID-19 disease that experts are trying to learn more about, and the CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
To further complicate this ever-changing landscape, the initial immunity acquired through infection varies from case to case, too.
“Getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected,” Lipson said. “Although infection from COVID-19 provides most people some degree of protection in the first 90 days after infection, we do not know how long this protection lasts. So everyone needs the renewed protection provided by the vaccine.”
How Long After My COVID-19 Infection Should I Get the vaccine?
It’s rare for reinfection to occur in the first 90 days after recovery, but significant reductions in immunities due to neutralizing antibodies begin in the first few months. If you’ve had the virus and completed a quarantine period, you can receive the vaccine when it’s offered to you.
“The only exception is for COVID-19 patients who were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. Those patients should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” Lipson said. “You can talk to your doctor if you have questions about the treatments you received or if you have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Baptist Health Madisonville’s vaccine clinic is currently vaccinating with the Pfizer, two-dose vaccination series. The vaccines are not fully protective until two weeks after the final shot is taken.
Regardless of whether you’ve been infected or received the vaccine, it remains important to maintain precautions to prevent spreading Covid-19 to those who may not have received the vaccine:
- Stay at home unless there’s an important reason to go out
- Wear a mask in public and maintain a safe distance from others
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home/business
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue