Does natural immunity protect you against COVID-19 variants?

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Recovering from COVID-19 does offer natural immunity against the virus, according to health officials, but it’s not enough long-term.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention that monitored vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Kentucky who recovered from COVID-19 showed vaccination upon recovery is necessary.

“What they found was people who had not been vaccinated and had been infected previously were about 2.3 times more likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than people who had been infected previously and then vaccinated,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford.

Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Department of Health said science proves natural immunity does not compare to vaccine immunity.

He said those with natural immunity can choose either vaccine.

“Whether the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, all of those are good options if you’ve been previously infected. They’re still going to boost your immunity, give your immune system increased strength,” Willeford said.

He says whether natural immunity offers protection against variants is still under investigation.

“That’s something we’re still trying to suss through. Even with the vaccines, we’ve seen some of the effectiveness dropdown with the variants,” Willeford explained. “They still provide excellent protection against hospitalization. They provide excellent protection against death, but they don’t provide quite as solid protection against infection in general, but it’s protecting you against those things we worry the most about.”

Willeford said you can get vaccinated as soon as you are without COVID symptoms.

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