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Do those who recover from COVID-19 still need the vaccine?

Virus Outbreak Louisiana Vaccine
Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 08:30:02-05

The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at HealthInsider@abc15.com.

Those who recover from COVID-19 see long-term benefits of extended immunity, so does that mean that the group should wait to get vaccinated?

The latest numbers from the National Institutes of Health show a vast majority of those who catch COVID-19 end up making a full recovery. The new data also shows 95% of those who do recover get long-term immune protection.

To ask if a vaccine is even necessary for those who now have this extended post-virus protection, we turn to our ABC15 Health Insider, Dr. Wassim Ballan.

"What we know so far is that the risk of someone getting reinfected is extremely low in the first three months after the infection itself. And now there's some new data that probably shows it's also low when you're talking about the first six months after the infection."

"When the person gets the infection, they build up some immunity to that infection. But what we also are learning...the vaccine actually is giving us a more robust immunity against the virus. So this is why we're still recommending that even if you had the infection, we would still want you to take the vaccine when it's available for you because that's going to give you potentially the longer protection against the infection."

The infectious disease specialist says work is being done to figure out how long vaccine protection will last.

Dr. Ballan says, "Do we need to get the vaccine again, in the future? Is it going to be a yearly vaccine? These are all things that we're still waiting to answer with the knowledge that we're building up about the vaccine."

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