As COVID-19 vaccines become more and more available to the general public questions on who should get the jab also have been rising, most prominently whether people who have been infected with coronavirus should also be inoculated – most scientists agree that the answer is “yes.”
Regardless of previous infection, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should plan on getting vaccinated when it’s their turn. “It’s a pretty straightforward question,” Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja told The Associated Press (AP). “Yes, you need to get vaccinated.”
Professor Mustafa Gerek from the University of Health Sciences told Demirören News Agency (DHA) that after infection “it is likely that you have enough antibodies at which stage you may not need vaccination” but it is unclear how long immunity lasts.
After someone recovers, their immune system should keep them from becoming sick again right away. “Your immune system is able to identify the virus, and protect itself,” said Dr. Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University.
Scientists still do not know exactly how long this immunity lasts or how strong it is, though recent research suggests the protection could last for several months.
It’s impossible to know how long a person might be immune, said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “There’s no way to calculate that.”
Vaccines, by contrast, are designed to bring about a more consistent and optimal immune response. They also should boost whatever preexisting immunity a person might have from an infection, experts say.
The Turkish Health Ministry, on its COVID-19 information platform, lists health care workers who previously had the infection as eligible for the vaccine one month after they have suffered from the coronavirus, as they are considered the highest risk group. Other risk groups can, and are encouraged to, be vaccinated six months after infection.
“Since we’re in this pandemic, and don’t have a handle on it, the safer approach is to vaccinate,” Kulkarni said. “You don’t lose anything and you stand to benefit.”
If you have been infected in the last three months, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says vaccination can be delayed if you want to let others go first while supplies are limited.
“All things being equal you would want the person with no protection to go first,” Adalja said.
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