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How long does natural immunity last?

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re on your side answering the question: how long does immunity last after you recover from a COVID-19 infection?

The CDC just released new data that shows people who have been infected with COVID-19 may develop some level of immunity that lasts up to six months.

That is about the same length of time vaccines appear to last before their effectiveness starts to wane, but it’s unclear how much immunity a person will develop from natural immunity alone, which is why doctors said there’s much to be gained from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Wesley Willeford, Medical Director of Disease Control for the Jefferson County Department of Health, said research shows people who were naturally infected with COVID-19 and had not been vaccinated against it, were about five-and-a-half times more likely to get COVID-19 again.

He said the best way to fend off future COVID infections is to get vaccinated even if you’ve already had the virus.

“What we’ve seen is people who have been infected before and then vaccinated, actually probably have stronger protection than people who have never had COVID-19 and have been vaccinated. If you’ve have had COVID-19 in the six months now’s the time to go ahead and get vaccinated, if you haven’t already done so. You want to make sure that you’re getting as much protection as you can, and I think that’s what’s going to keep you safe moving forward and hopefully prevent the bad side effects that could occur with a repeat infection of COVID-19,” said Dr. Willeford.

Dr. Willeford said if you’ve already had COVID, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine immediately following your isolation period.

He said natural immunity is great, but it is unreliable and usually not as robust as a vaccine.

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