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Do I need the vaccine if I got COVID-19?

Do you need to get vaccinated if you had COVID-19? What a new study tells us

A 12-year-old receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse.
Cheyane Peterson, 12, gets a COVID-19 vaccine from Khrista Staheli at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Do you need to get vaccinated if you had COVID? What a new study tells us.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

There’s a new Cleveland Clinic study that found those who were infected with COVID-19 were unlikely to get COVID-19 again — even if they didn’t get vaccinated, The Akron Beacon Journal reported.

  • “Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before,” the study said.

Do you need to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you got COVID-19?

The study argued that COVID-19 vaccine doses should be sent to people who haven’t been infected with COVID-19 first, especially in countries where vaccines are hard to reach.

  • This study shows that subjects previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are unlikely to get COVID-19 reinfection whether or not they receive the vaccine,” the study’s authors wrote, according to The Akron Beacon Journal. “This finding calls into question the necessity to vaccinate those who have already had SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

However, the Cleveland Clinic said there needs to be more research before there’s a definitive statement made.

  • For now, the clinic “recommends those who are eligible receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

What does the CDC say?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that “you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19.”

  • “That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again,” according to the CDC.
  • However, people who were treated for COVID-19 with “monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma” should wait 90 days before getting vaccinated, the CDC suggests.

Can you get infected again?

It’s still unclear, as the CDC said. But experts have been worried about potential reinfection due to the coronavirus variants, as I wrote for the Deseret News. In fact, South Carolina epidemiologist Dr. Scott Curry told WIS-TV that variants have raised concerns about COVID-19 reinfection.

  • “It’s happening a lot in areas of the world where variants are kind of getting out of control,” Curry said. “For instance, Brazil is having a really rough time with people who documented symptomatic COVID to make them sick twice.”

However, a study from Denmark found that getting infected with the novel coronavirus twice is really rare.

  • The study — published in the medical journal Lancet — found most people stayed safe from COVID-19 for at least six months. Chances of reinfection dropped considerably though for younger people, according to the researchers.