Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have had the virus?
Yes, whether or not there has been a previous infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people should plan to get the vaccine when it is their turn.
“It’s a pretty straightforward question,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University. “Yes, you need to get the vaccine.”
Once you’ve recovered, your immune system should stop you from catching up with it immediately.
“Your immune system is able to identify the virus and protect itself,” said Saskia Popescu, epidemiologist 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 can be immunized, said Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine. “There is no way to calculate this.”
Vaccines, on the other hand, are designed to produce a more consistent and optimal immune response. And they should boost a patient’s pre-existing immunity to a certain infection, experts said.
“Since we are in this pandemic and have no control over it, the safest approach is to vaccinate,” Kulkarni said. “Nothing is lost and it can benefit you.”
If you’ve been infected in the past three months, the CDC says you can delay vaccination if you want others to go first when availability is limited.
“All other things being equal, you want the unprotected person to move on,” Adalja said.
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