If you got sick with covid-19, you have to get vaccinated; this is the reason

Immunity is protection against harmful pathogens, in this case against the virus that causes covid-19. Immunity is actually an extremely complex process.

“The specificities of immunity not only depend on the pathogen in question but also they also vary from person to person”, Reflects Dr. David Bernard, medical director of Houston Methodist Hospital Clinical Pathology. “Add to this the fact that we now have vaccines, which implies that there is more than one way to develop immunity against covid-19.”

We all have a first line of defense called innat immunitya, this non-specific form of immunity responds the same to any type of microorganisms that invade our skin or certain cells and proteins in the body.

The second line of defense is called adaptive immunity, and this is where it gets interesting.

“With adaptive immunity, the body develops a special type of cells and antibodies that are specifically targeted at the invader, in this case the coronavirus that causes covid-19 disease. The Adaptive immunity can be generated by either a previous infection (natural immunity) or it can also be developed through vaccination ”, explains Dr. Bernard.

The question that arises is whether natural and vaccine-induced immunity offer a similar level of protection? And if you have both, would you be doubly protected?

“The people who are of greatest concern at this time are obviously the unvaccinated who they don’t have any kind of immunity and, secondly, those not vaccinated who only have immunity derived from a previous infection by covid-19 ”, says Dr. Bernard. “However, we do not want there to be people who think they are invincible because they are vaccinated.”

Dr. Bernard from Houston Methodist Hospital explains the different levels of the spectrum of immunity against covid-19:

The LEAST protected: Those NOT vaccinated

Considering that the covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 650,000 lives in the United States of America, there is no doubt that the people most at risk are those who have not yet been vaccinated.

“Some studies indicate that vaccines against covid-19 have saved in the United States alone, about a quarter of a million lives and have prevented about 1 million hospitalizations,” says Dr. Bernard. “Even in the current scenario with the Delta variant, vaccines have proven time and again that are very effective in performing their primary functions: preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths”.

“To resolve mixed feelings and anxiety around vaccinations, consider speaking with a trusted doctor. He or she will help you understand how vaccines work, what normal adverse effects you can expect and what are the benefits of vaccination. You too can provide information to alleviate anxiety about vaccines and it can greatly help you make a well-informed decision regarding vaccination, ”recommends Dr. Bernard.

“For those young and healthy who believe that it is okay to just wait to get infected with COVID-19, be very careful, keep in mind that even moderate cases of the disease are debilitating and symptoms and sequelae can arise that last months, if not potentially, a lifetime. This is without mentioning the real risk of hospitalization and death that young people also have ”, emphasizes Dr. Bernard.

Learning: If you are not vaccinated, don’t waste any more time and get vaccinated. By getting vaccinated, you take all the protective benefits of immunity, without having to face the great risks that covid-19 infection entails when you do not have any immunity.

LOW Protection: Those who only have natural immunity

Many studies have found that the vast majority of people who have recovered from COVID-19 produce protection against the virus including antibodies and trained immune cells.

However, Dr. Bernard external that there are still many unknowns surrounding the natural immunity that follows an infection, since the degree and quality of protection it offers cannot be determined.

Why is the immunity that develops after infection not enough?

“The immunity that follows an infection is not the same as that generated by vaccination. Studies show that antibody levels of people who got vaccinated are much higher those presented by people recovered from the infection ”, analyzes Dr. Bernard. “Although the infection does lead to the generation of antibodies against the virus, many of these do not protect against reinfection. Vaccination, meanwhile, offers a much higher level of protective antibodies than those that are generated after having had covid-19. However, it is currently not possible to know how robust a person’s immune response is or how quickly this immunity dissipates over time, ”adds Dr. Bernard.

In other words: There is no way to tell one person “your immunity will protect you for eight months”, and another person “your immunity will protect you only for a couple of months. On the other hand, immunity acquired by vaccination has been actively studied for decades in a controlled and detailed environment in a number of vaccine research protocols, ”says Dr. Bernard.

“On another topic, reinfection with covid-19 is somewhat rare, but surely over time it will become more and more frequent as variants of concern for covid-19 continue to appear,” warns Dr. Bernard.

Learning: The natural immunity that follows an infection is not enough. If you already had covid-19 it is very important to get vaccinated once you are fully recovered.

The BEST protected: The vaccinated

No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and with the Delta variant being much more contagious, we are seeing waves of infections occur again. The good news is that vaccinated people who become infected with COVID-19 have 25 times less risk of being hospitalized, ”says Dr. Bernard.

Although the immunity provided by vaccines is proven to decrease over time, particularly in preventing mild or moderate disease in those who were vaccinated earlier in the year, the good news is that vaccine-induced adaptive immunity can be strengthened with a third dose. reinforcement.

Third booster doses are now available in seriously immunocompromised people in the United States. In recent days, the FDA announced for that country, the authorization of a booster of the Pfizer vaccine (only that one for now), for people over 65 years of age, for individuals with health conditions that put them at risk of suffering a disease severe if they become infected with COVID and also for people whose work is at high risk of infection; such as health personnel, supermarket employees, etc. that have been vaccinated in their first and second doses, with the biological of Pfizer. For the other vaccines there are not yet complete studies.

Learning: Vaccinated you are much more protected, but you must continue to maintain preventive measures during the outbreak of infection in your community.

If you had covid-19 and are also vaccinated, do you have double protection?

Probably the most confusing part of the immunity spectrum is precisely what it means to have natural post-infection immunity and natural post-vaccine immunity.

The issue of immunity is very complex, and the question of, if a person has both types of adaptive immunity, is he then protected twice, has no answers yet.

“Having adaptive immunity generated after infection and also post-vaccination adaptive immunity could in theory mean greater protection, but this does not mean that it is better protection. It is better to live cautiously and not have a false sense that we are invincible. To protect yourself and others, you need to continue wearing face masks and practicing social distancing during infectious outbreaks, ”warns Dr. Bernard.

Learning: You are not invincible. You still need to take precautions during infectious outbreaks, and you may need a third booster dose at some point.

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