PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Should you get a vaccine if you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered?
This is one of the many questions and concerns people have as the approval of vaccines appears imminent. Tens of thousands of vaccine doses are expected in Oregon in the next few weeks, and health care workers and vulnerable populations will be first in line for the 2-shot series.
By the way, the short answer to that question: Yes.
Dr. Joe Sullivan, the Senior Health Advisor for the Oregon Health Authority, said there is a difference between the antibodies you get from the vaccine and having natural immunity if you had COVID and recovered.
He also said the natural antibodies can go away over time. So he recommends getting a vaccine even if you’ve already had COVID-19.
“The antibodies that come from the vaccines will be specifically for the spike protein, that little knobby thing on the outside of the coronavirus,” Sullivan told KOIN 6 News. “When you get the natural disease your body might produce multiple antibodies to the spike protein, but also to the envelope protein or other proteins, so you may have a number of other antibodies associated.”
Sullivan said becoming re-infected from COVID-19 doesn’t happen often but there have been a few documented cases in the US and around the world.
“But again we don’t think that happens very often and what we’re going to be looking for for these vaccines, we’re going to be following these trials to see whether or not the people protected by the vaccination when they’re susceptible again. And if they are, do they need a booster, that kind of thing.”
As for side effects, Sullivan said there have been no serious adverse effects in the vaccine trials. At most, he said, the side effects would be having a sore arm — like if you got a tetanus shot — a low-grade fever and fatigue.
Those side effects are a sign that your immune system has recognized the vaccine and is making an immune response — which is to be expected?