Why people who have recovered from COVID should still get the vaccine

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Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon/UCH
Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon/UCH

President Donald Trump famously declared that he was immune after his bout with the disease. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who tested positive for the virus in March, [said that] authorities should tell survivors “to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again, because these people are now immune.”

This is very much NOT how experts on immunity say you should behave after you’ve tested positive, but there is new evidence that important markers of immunity remain strong months after infection. That does not necessarily mean that survivors can’t get sick again or spread the virus unwittingly while asymptomatic, hence the continuing advice to wear masks and keep your distance after recovery.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he thinks that COVID-19 survivors should still get vaccinated.

Related article:  76% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have at least one symptom six months after infection
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It is too early to know whether natural immunity is better or different than immunity triggered by vaccines.

[Infectious disease expert John] Zurlo said the latest surge in cases will be a test of natural immunity. He’s waiting to see if there’s a big increase in reported reinfections.

“In the end, the proof is in the clinical outcomes,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s any way to rush that along, to be honest with you.”

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