Dear Doctor: I got COVID and have natural immunity. Why would I need a vaccination?

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine? Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because: Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19. Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.

Getting sick with COVID-19 offers some protection from future illness with COVID-19, sometimes called “natural immunity.” The level of protection people get from having COVID-19 may vary depending on how mild or severe their illness was, the time since their infection, and their age. No currently available test can reliably determine if a person is protected from infection.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19 even in people who have already been sick with COVID-19.

Emerging evidence shows that getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection to your immune system. One study showed that, for people who already had COVID-19, those who do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more than 2 times as likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get fully vaccinated after their recovery.

People who were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma or people who have a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-A or MIS-C) may need to wait a while after recovering before they can get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

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