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NJ COVID Vaccine: Should I get a coronavirus vaccine if I have already had the virus?

Here is a question that many people think about as coronavirus continues to spread and vaccines become more available: Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have had the virus?

Health experts say yes. Regardless of previous infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should plan to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

“It’s a pretty straightforward question,”

; said Johns Hopkins’ infectious disease specialist, Dr. Amesh Adalja. “Yes, you need to be vaccinated.”

Once someone has recovered, their immune system must prevent them from getting sick again right away.

“Your immune system is able to identify the virus and protect itself,” said Dr. Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University.

Researchers still do not know exactly how long this immunity lasts or how strong it is, although recent research suggests that the protection may last for several months.

It is impossible to know how long a person can be immune, said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “There’s no way to calculate it.”

Vaccines, on the other hand, are designed to create a more consistent and optimal immune response. And they should increase the existing immunity a person may have against an infection, experts say.

“Since we are in this pandemic and have nothing to do with it, the safer approach is to vaccinate,” Kulkarni said. “You do not lose anything and you benefit.”

If you have been infected for the past three months, the CDC says it is OK to postpone vaccination if you want to let others go first while supplies are limited.

“All in all, you want the person without protection to go first,” Adalja said.

In New Jersey, more than 214,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered since Monday, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. The state plans to provide daily updates on the vaccination process under a new tab on the coronavirus dashboard.

The number 214,000 includes 199,293 first doses and 14,984 second doses.

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