If you had Covid-19, do you still need the vaccine?

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Many of us who have had Covid-19  have developed natural immunity. Few of us will ever get this virus again according to the latest data. There are also two vaccines that are now available, the one from Moderna and the other from Pfizer which both are mRNA-based and require two shots, roughly a month apart. Shortly, a one-dose J and J vaccine will be available as well which uses another virus to develop immunity. To achieve natural immunity, you need to have had exposure to the virus. As infections rise in many parts of the country, your odds of exposure increase markedly. Becoming immunized will help society end this pandemic sooner. Natural exposure will cause your body to develop antibodies to the virus.  As mentioned in our Covid-19 blog, it is important that you are not vitamin D deficient since growing evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency has been present in many people who have had difficulties recovering from Covid-19.

What to expect if you contract Covid-19

Covid-19 at its worst can be life-threatening, although most of us will have symptoms ranging from those of the common cold with chills, low-grade fever, and achiness with some congestion with a strange-sounding cough.   Some report gastrointestinal symptoms and lethargy. Lack of smell and taste and some have difficulty taking in a deep breath while feeling pressure on their chest is also common signs. Then there is the risk of affecting others before you have any symptoms and many people may not know they are infected since they have no symptoms. There is also the quarantine requirement which for most people is 7-10 days which helps you avoid infecting others. I had covid-19 with symptoms that included achiness, some congestion and a lethargic feeling with some brain fog.   My wife had symptoms that were worse than mine including a cough, achiness, and lethargic feeling, and tightness in the chest, and a loss of taste and smell. We were proactive in our approach to this by using this protocol which may have helped us recover more quickly. We both recovered from the virus. The vaccine which is available now can help you avoid much of this however, there are reports of people experiencing some symptoms a day or so after having the injection and also having soreness at the site of injection. These symptoms are from your body reacting to the vaccine and your immune system reacting. Taking the vaccine is statistically safer than getting covid-19.  One interesting note as stated on the CDC website is that if you have the vaccine, you will not test positive for covid-19 since the vaccine causes an immune reaction teaching the body to attack the covid-19 proteins on the virus.  You are not actually being injected with the virus and you will not become covid-19 positive from the vaccine. According to a recent NY Times article, achieving natural immunity is not safer than receiving the vaccine.  You may wish to read their opinion on this, since getting the virus is riskier than getting the vaccine.

Do you need the vaccination once you have had covid-19?

In most cases, natural immunity is usually the best, even after the antibodies have come and gone.  This is because T-cells, which are memory cells can continue to recognize the virus months and years later.   This is why many of us will never again experience a virus that we had already. Since the vaccine is going to be widely available in New Jersey shortly, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks associated with contracting the virus.   Think of this vaccine as a mechanism that teaches the body to attack and eliminate covid-19 without the harm and risk associated with getting the actual virus. If you receive immunity through the new Pfizer or Moderna Vaccines, two vaccines are required 3-4 weeks apart to achieve the maximum level of immunity. If you have had Covid-19 and developed it from being exposed to others, you are now part of the solution to ending covid-19, since you are immune.   True, we do not know how long this immunity lasts but based on our experience with other viruses and pandemics, eventually, enough people become immune to help eradicate the virus.   This is known as herd immunity. If you have the vaccine, it is still recommended you continue to wear a mask for the time being until society reached herd immunity. Some internet sites are now suggesting that everyone should get the vaccine regardless of whether you already had covid-19 and had developed antibodies.  This is based on opinions from medical experts.  Understanding that everyone who is infected moves us toward herd immunity faster.    The idea of vaccinating people who are already immune may be a questionable one size fits all solution, which is unlikely to get us to herd immunity faster since those who are already immune are already part of the herd. True, the vaccine teaches the body to attack the spike protein on the covid-19 virus,  however, the vaccine does have some risks and symptoms with the administration which are minor compared to the virus itself. Recently, the NY Times reported on vaccine side effects which include headache, achiness, fatigue which can last a few days, and of course soreness at the site of the injection. If you wish to become vaccinated in addition to your natural covid-19 immunity, you must wait 90 days, and then you can have the vaccine administered.  Medical experts are suggesting that those who have had natural immunity should also take the vaccine.   Doing so is not without risk as we do not know if there are any long term risks associated with the vaccine.   There is also no proof that this approach is better for us, and do remember that experts had also suggested a double whammy of the flu and Covid-19 which was highly unlikely due to the available evidence. Is recommending the vaccine after natural immunity is reached sensible, offer more enhanced immunity, or is it risky?   Are you going to be more immune to natural immunity and vaccinated immunity? How many types of immunity does one need to be part of herd immunity, without taking on more risk?  Many of these opinions are just that, opinions.  You should do your own reading and do what you feel comfortable with since there is no scientific data to support many of these opinions. Eventually, we will be on the other side of this and society will return to normal.   What should you do?  Read the latest information and let knowledge be your guide.