Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have had the virus?
Yes. Regardless of the previous infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should plan to get the vaccine when it’s their turn.
“It’s a pretty simple question,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist. “Yes, you need to get the vaccine.”
Once someone recovers, their immune system should prevent them from getting sick again right away.
“Your immune system is able to identify the virus and protect itself,” said Dr. Saskia Popescu, infectious disease specialist at George Mason University.
Scientists are still not sure exactly how long this immunity lasts or how strong it is, although recent research suggests that the protection could last for several months.
It’s impossible to know how long a person might be immune, said Dr Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “There is no way to calculate this.”
Vaccines, on the other hand, are designed to elicit a more consistent and optimal immune response. And they should boost any pre-existing immunity a person might have against an infection, experts say.
“Since we are in this pandemic, and we have no control, the safest approach is to vaccinate,” Kulkarni said. “You lose nothing and you will benefit from it.”
If you’ve been infected in the past three months, the CDC says it’s okay to delay vaccination if you want to let others start when stocks are limited.
“All other things being equal, you would want the unprotected person to come first,” Adalja said.
The AP answers your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them to: [email protected]
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