HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (WAFF) – If you’ve ever had COVID-19, you might be wondering if you still need to get the vaccine. The key question: can you count on natural immunity?
According to Dr Ali Hassoun, an infectious disease specialist at Huntsville Hospital, natural immunity protects some people from reinfection, but the problem is that there is not enough data to show how long this lasts. immunity or whether it is effective against the variants. Plus, as with anything health related, he said the answer can be different from person to person.
“People have to understand, the variability really depends on the age group, the risk factors, the type of exposure,” Hassoun said. “So there are a lot of factors that play into the reinfection. “
The most recent discussion on this topic stems from a large study conducted in Israel. This study found that natural immunity provides longer lasting and stronger protection than immunity induced by the two-dose vaccine.
However, Hassoun said there are still too many unanswered questions with this study. For example, he says the rate of reinfection and its severity is unclear.
“The main problem with COVID is unpredictable,” Hassoun said. “There really aren’t any specific criteria left for who will get really sick and who won’t.”
Hassoun also takes into account his personal experience with COVID-19 patients. He said he has seen many patients who thought they had natural immunity, but ended up contracting the virus multiple times.
“From what we’ve seen, people can get a second infection and a third infection,” he said. “And in fact, when they get a second infection, it can be more serious than the first. Because it’s a different variant. At the same time, which has been shown in studies, if you are infected and get vaccinated, your immune response will be really just as robust. “
Hassoun acknowledged that about 80% of unvaccinated people who contract COVID-19 do not have severe symptoms. Either way, he thinks it’s not a risk to take. Ultimately, relying on natural immunity is not the safest option.
“It is not a good idea to wait,” said Hassoun. “Again, we’re seeing people in their twenties and thirties right now who are infected and they have the same idea, ‘If I’m infected, I’ll be fine. 80 to 90 percent might be fine, but about 10 percent end up in the hospital. Some of them were intubated and others died.
Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.