Had it already? Consultants say you continue to have to get vaccinated

When concerned friends and family members try to convince loved ones to get vaccinated, many come across the argument, “I’ve already got COVID so I can’t get it again.”

Health experts say this is just not true.

While antibodies from natural infection may offer some protection against the virus, there is evidence that nothing protects against COVID-19 better than vaccines.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 should get vaccinated to reduce their risk of re-infection, which will prevent transmission and suppress the possibility for more variants – like the highly contagious Delta.

“Natural infection causes your immune system to make many types of antibodies and immune responses against all parts of the virus, but only a small fraction of that response is actually protective,” said Nicole Iovine, the hospital’s chief epidemiologist at the University of Florida Health in Gainesville. “When you get the vaccine, the entire response is directed to the spike protein of the virus.”

A study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that unvaccinated people who had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to be infected with the virus than people who were fully vaccinated after contracting the virus .

Hundreds of Kentucky residents with previous COVID-19 infections participated in the study from May through June. It found that those who were not vaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to be re-infected than those who were fully vaccinated.

“If you’ve ever had COVID-19, please get vaccinated anyway,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “This study shows that if you are not vaccinated, you are twice as likely to get infected again. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant is spreading across the country. “

According to health experts, anyone can be at risk, regardless of age or health condition.

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Do you need booster vaccinations against COVID-19? It is likely, experts say, but the immunocompromised should be prioritized.

A study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in April found multiple COVID-19 reinfections in the U.S. Marines Corps, a population believed to be the picture of health. Of the 189 Marines infected from May to November 2020, 10% tested positive again.

People who are re-infected with the virus are more likely to be asymptomatic, which increases the chances of spreading it, said Michael Grosso, chief medical officer and chairman of pediatrics at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Long Island, New York.

“Individuals who have partial immunity and are therefore prone to asymptomatic infections are putting people around them at absolute risk for not knowing they are sick and we now know that they can transmit COVID under these conditions” , he said.

People with asymptomatic infection can unwittingly expose friends or loved ones who may be older or have weakened immune systems, health experts said, putting them at risk of infection if vaccinated or, worse, serious risk of illness and death. again unvaccinated.

Although most people have milder symptoms during their second COVID-19 attack, Iovine said she has had a fair share of hospital admissions.

A 25-year-old man in Nevada was the first reported case of COVID-19 reinfection in October 2020, according to a case study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The researchers said his second attempt was “symptomatically more severe than the first.”

The spread of the disease gives the virus more chances to mutate, health experts said, which can create more variants. According to the CDC, the delta variant accounts for more than 90% of sequenced cases in the United States.

“With this Delta variant, you want the odds in your favor,” said Iovine. “You don’t want to expose yourself to undue risk, and this is where vaccination will give you the extra protection that a natural infection cannot.”

Contributor: Christine Fernando

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Health and patient safety at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation makes no editorial contribution.

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