The idea that you should get vaccinated even after having a natural infection isn’t new.
“There are three serotypes of wild poliovirus type 1, type 2, and type 3 each with a slightly different capsid protein. Immunity to one serotype does not give confer immunity to the other two.”The Polio Virus
While natural immunity is good, often immunity from a vaccine is even better.
Why You Should Get Vaccinated Even Though You Had COVID
In addition to the fact that many vaccines sometimes offer broader protection against multiple serotypes of a disease, there is the simple fact that some natural infections don’t provide life-long immunity.
Do you develop life-long immunity to tetanus?
“…people who recover from tetanus do not have natural immunity and can be infected again.”Tetanus
What about COVID-19?
“Getting COVID-19 may offer some protection, known as natural immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the months after initial infection, but may increase with time.”Benefits of Getting Vaccinated
So far, results from studies confirm that you should get vaccinated, even after you had a natural COVID-19 infection.
There is the Denmark study, which found that fewer than 50% of those over 65 years of age were protected against a repeat infection after having COVID-19.
“Despite evidence of an effective acquired immune response after COVID‐19, some studies have shown that patients with mild symptoms have developed a weaker and less lasting immune response to the virus, with a decrease in the level of antibodies after 2–3 months of infection.“Reinfection of COVID‐19 after 3 months with a distinct and more aggressive clinical presentation: Case report
More recently, a study in Kentucky found that folks who were unvaccinated, but had already had COVID, were more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated.
“These findings suggest that among persons with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, full vaccination provides additional protection against reinfection. Among previously infected Kentucky residents, those who were not vaccinated were more than twice as likely to be reinfected compared with those with full vaccination. All eligible persons should be offered vaccination, including those with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, to reduce their risk for future infection.”Reduced Risk of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Vaccination — Kentucky, May–June 2021
And case reports and studies that have found evidence of reinfection in those who have had natural infections.
The CDC does report that COVID -19 reinfection after a natural infection is rare though.
“Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare.”Reinfection with COVID-19
Still, there is plenty of evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are highly effective, and likely do offer added protection if you have had a natural infection, so there is no good reason to not get vaccinated and protected.
“There is widespread confusion around natural immunity and whether someone who has already been infected with COVID-19 should still be vaccinated. Updating information and educational materials to reflect not only why Delta is different but also why natural immunity is unreliable and risky is recommended.”Bad Actors Use Israeli Study to Promote Natural Over Vaccine Immunity
You should also ignore all of the folks pushing misinformation trying to promote natural immunity over vaccine induced immunity!
How Long After You Had COVID Do You Have to Wait to Get Vaccinated?
If you are currently sick with COVID-19, you should wait until you get your COVID-19 vaccine.
“If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
At least 90 days if you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma.
“While there is no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is low in the months after initial infection but may increase with time due to waning immunity. While vaccine supply remains limited, people with recent documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection may choose to temporarily delay vaccination, if desired. However, they should recognize that the risk of reinfection and, therefore, the need for vaccination, can increase with time following initial infection.”COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Healthcare Professionals
What About Antibody-Dependent Enhancement?
Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) occurs when antibodies, instead of blocking an infection, make it much worse.
While ADE is a real thing, sometimes occurring after vaccination with the Dengue virus vaccine, for example, we have fortunately not seen it with COVID-19 and our COVID-19 vaccines.
“So here’s the short version: no sign of ADE during the preclinical animal studies. No sign during the human clinical trials. No sign during the initial vaccine rollouts into the population. And (so far) no sign of ADE even with the variant strains in different parts of the world. We have things to worry about in this pandemic, but as far as I can tell today, antibody-dependent enhancement does not seem to be one of them.”Antibody-Dependent Enhancement and the Coronavirus Vaccines
In fact, breakthrough infections after vaccination are uncommon and when they occur, are typically milder than a natural infection.
And unfortunately, that’s not always the case if you get reinfected with COVID-19, getting a second natural infection. While these cases are also uncommon and are typically mild, sometimes they aren’t.
The Bottom Line on Getting Vaccinated After Having COVID
Since you will likely develop better protection after getting vaccinated, even if you have already had a natural COVID-19 infection, there is no good reason to skip or delay getting your COVID-19 vaccine series.
More on COVID-19 Vaccines
- What Are the Benefits of Natural Immunity?
- What Happens if You Test Positive After Your First COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?
- Should I Blame the Vaccine If I’m Sick and I Just Got Vaccinated?
- About Those Urgent COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Warnings
- Have 60% of New COVID-19 Patients Been Vaccinated?
- Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
- COVID Vaccine Booster Doses
- The Polio Virus
- CDC – Benefits of Getting Vaccinated
- CDC – The Possibility of COVID-19 after Vaccination: Breakthrough Infections
- CDC – Reinfection with COVID-19
- MMWR – COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections Reported to CDC — United States, January 1–April 30, 2021
- MMWR – Reduced Risk of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Vaccination — Kentucky, May–June 2021
- Fact check: Infected with COVID-19 in the past? You still need the vaccine, experts say
- Can I get reinfected if I’ve already had COVID-19?
- Bad Actors Use Israeli Study to Promote Natural Over Vaccine Immunity
- Israeli Study Reignites Natural vs. Vaccine Immunity Debate
- Fact Check: Israeli Health Study Does NOT End Natural Immunity Vs. COVID Vaccination Debate
- Immunity through Covid infection is much riskier than a vaccine
- Instagram Post Missing Context About Israeli Study on COVID-19 Natural Immunity
- Mike Shirkey’s remarks on COVID-19 immunity are misleading, false
- Fact Check: Claim That 80% Of COVID-19 Deaths Occurred Within The Vaccinated Population In Scotland Is Misleading
- SARS-CoV-2 infection rates of antibody-positive compared with antibody-negative health-care workers in England: a large, multicentre, prospective cohort study (SIREN)
- Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection 1 Year After Primary Infection in a Population in Lombardy, Italy
- Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Persist for up to 13 Months and Reduce Risk of Reinfection
- More people are getting COVID-19 twice, suggesting immunity wanes quickly in some
- Why the U.S. Is Underestimating Covid Reinfection
- Is Dr. Hooman Noorchashm’s #ScreenB4Vaccine being used by RFK Jr. to spread fear of COVID-19 vaccines?
- Dr. Hooman Noorchashm and #ScreenB4Vaccine, revisited
- What is Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE)?
- Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
- Assessment of protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 among 4 million PCR-tested individuals in Denmark in 2020: a population-level observational study
- SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and subsequent infection risk in healthy young adults: a prospective cohort study
- A 1 to 1000 SARS-CoV-2 reinfection proportion in members of a large healthcare provider in Israel: a preliminary report
- Single dose of vaccine acts as ‘booster’ in people who’ve already had Covid-19
- Antibody Responses in Seropositive Persons after a Single Dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine
- Reinfection of COVID‐19 after 3 months with a distinct and more aggressive clinical presentation: Case report
- Recurrent COVID-19 including evidence of reinfection and enhanced severity in thirty Brazilian healthcare workers
- Antibody-Dependent Enhancement and the Coronavirus Vaccines
- Why ADE Hasn’t Been a Problem With COVID Vaccines
- Vaccines Benefit Those Who Have Had COVID-19, Contrary to Viral Posts