Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have had the virus?
Yes. Regardless of previous infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say People need to plan to be vaccinated when it is their turn.
“It’s a pretty straightforward question,” said Johns Hopkins’ infectious 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,”
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 need the person without protection to go first,” Adalja said.
AP answers your questions about coronavirus in this series. Submit them to: FactCheck@AP.org.
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