With millions of people already infected by COVID-19, those who have recovered, and perhaps, even those who may have been infected but did not know it, are asking a common question: Do they still need to get vaccinated even if they already survived the virus?
Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Medical Center's professor of infectious diseases, told US News & World Report, that those who had already dealt with the virus will also be asked to stand in line and receive shots. He further elaborated that no distinction will be made. He said that in part, they do not think that there will be an adverse event that will happen. He added that the protection from a vaccine may be more lasting than what one gets from being infected naturally.
Many disease experts have regarded coronaviruses as among those that prompt an incomplete immune response. This is why a cure is still yet to be found or discovered by science for the common cold.
Dr. Gregory Poland, Vaccine Research Group director at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. said that people would lose immunity in a matter of months, or in a year or two, considering that there are four seasonal beta coronaviruses that circulate, which cause the upper respiratory infections that he has seen in his practice.
He also said that there is a chance that people who had mild or asymptomatic cases did not build-up lasting immunity. Another doctor, Amesh Adalja of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that although natural infection provides protection for a certain period of time, it could not yet be predicted how tough the response has been in individuals.
Adalja also explained that in those who have already recovered, the vaccine will boost the body's natural immunity. Hence, it will be more effective at preventing the disease. He noted that patients of COVID-19 must not feel like they won't be benefiting from the vaccine.
Researchers now expect that the clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be able to give them more insight with regards to previously infected patients. The trials have included even those who had already experienced the virus. They will be monitored for months or years thereafter.