Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice had twice the risk of getting reinfected.
The report Friday from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention comes as scientists urge people to get vaccinated because of the highly contagious delta variant. That includes people who had a prior infection.
The report out of Kentucky adds to growing laboratory evidence that vaccines offer an important boost to natural immunity, including broader protection against new variants.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”
There's little information yet on reinfections with the newer delta variant. But US health officials point to early data from Britain that the reinfection risk appears greater with delta than with the common alpha variant, once people are six months past their prior infection.
“There's no doubt” that vaccinating a COVID-19 survivor enhances both the amount and breadth of immunity “so that you cover not only the original (virus) but the variants,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, said at a recent White House briefing.