Health experts, including the CDC and WHO, are advising the COVID vaccine for anyone who is eligible — including those who have had the virus
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, public health experts continue to express the urgent need for eligible people who have not yet been vaccinated against the virus to do so as quickly as possible.
Among the many pieces of misinformation spreading online alongside the virus is the falsehood that having had COVID-19 means you don’t need to be vaccinated, and it’s a myth that global health experts are trying fiercely to combat. As anti-vaxxers continue to claim that “natural immunity” — either from prior infection or from apparently having an immune system stronger than that of a deadly, highly infectious virus — means getting a COVID vaccine is not necessary, organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are ramping up efforts to encourage all eligible adults to get vaccinated, including those who have recovered from COVID-19.
While it does appear that having had the virus brings natural antibodies (and thus protection from a secondary infection), the window of protection is not yet known, especially since the virus and its variants are still so new. Receiving the vaccine is the only proven way to prevent serious illness or death, and it’s highly effective at doing so, according to both organizations.
“Take whatever vaccine is made available to you first, even if you have already had COVID-19,” notes the WHO. “It is important to be vaccinated as soon as possible once it’s your turn and not wait. Approved COVID-19 vaccines provide a high degree of protection against getting seriously ill and dying from the disease, although no vaccine is 100% protective.”
The CDC adds that the vaccination will provide strong protection even in those who have had the virus. “Get vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.”
As vaccine manufacturers and health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, continue to look into whether or not booster vaccines will be necessary in those who have been vaccinated, the universal message remains clear: It’s crucial for anyone that is eligible to receive their vaccine as soon as they can, even if they’ve already had the virus.
If you are currently recovering from COVID-19, the University of Chicago Medicine notes that you can get your vaccine as soon as you are no longer at risk of exposing other people to the virus, which means you’re out of isolation and no longer infectious. The one exception is for people who have been treated with monoclonal antibodies, who should wait 90 days to get vaccinated, as it’s not yet clear how long these antibodies provide necessary protection against a reinfection.
The TL:DR remains: If you are eligible to get the vaccine, get. the. vaccine.