Over the past 20 months, hundreds of thousands have been infected with the coronavirus, many of whom have wondered the same thing;
“The most common question I get from people who've had the virus and they're thinking about getting the vaccine is, 'Do I need to get it?” said Davey Smith, MD, translational research virologist at UCSD.
According to a recent study by the CDC, previous infection of the virus provides some degree of immunity and protection against getting COVID-19 again.
"The data from the CDC and others shows that there's really good protection after somebody has sars COVID for about six months, at least," said Smith.
But according to that same study, protection from the vaccine is much stronger.
The study looked at more than 7,000 people hospitalized with COVID-like illnesses and found that those who were unvaccinated but had been infected with COVID months earlier were five times more likely to be reinfected with the virus compared to those who were fully vaccinated and not had COVID before.
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"The caveat to that is that everybody is different," said Smith. "Some people have really good immunity for a long time and some people don't have very good immunity."
Smith says the heart of the problem remains in the inability to know just how long someone's immunity from the virus will last after being infected.
"Everybody just needs to get vaccinated because we don't know what the variability is from person to person," said Smith.
Smith adds that the most robust immunity responses he's seen are in people who have been infected before who then go get vaccinated.
"These vaccines work really well at stimulating an immune response that is protective against serious COVID-19," said Smith.
A push for those who remain without the vaccine, to roll up their sleeves.
It's important to note that this study only included adults fully vaccinated with Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine.