Do patients who’ve recovered from COVID still need to get the vaccine?

Man sitting at a bar during COVID-19 pandemic - face mask beneath chin
Photo via Ricardo Huñis/Flickr (Public Domain)

While surviving a bout of COVID-19 does confer some degree of immunity to the disease, experts still recommend patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 to get the vaccine when it becomes available.

The immunity gained after recovering from COVID-19 is not as consistent as that of a vaccine, according to the Associated Press. If you’ve had the respiratory illness within the last three months, however, and want to allow others who suffer from a lack of immune defense to receive the vaccine while supply remains short, that is an appropriate course of action.

With natural immunity gained the old-fashioned way—by being infected with COVID-19—it’s not clear when people may become vulnerable again. The immunity time frame from a vaccine is also unclear. Receiving the coronavirus vaccine heavily reduces the chance of being reinfected, however, and has a much more predictable outcome in terms of side effects

Experts are recommending that folks who have been infected receive a vaccine as soon as they are eligible. This aims to offset the extreme health risks associated with the virus, which has become the most common cause of death in the United States. Experts note that it is difficult to predict how someone might respond to a second—or even third—infection. 

If you received an antibody treatment or convalescent plasma while ill with COVID-19, the CDC recommends waiting 90 days before getting the COVID-19 vaccine in order to properly build resistance. 

Read more on the coronavirus vaccine:

Sources: Healthline, CDC, AP News

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