Vaccine Tales Part 4: I had COVID already! Do I need this vaccine now?

“Doctor, why should I get the vaccine, when I have already come out of a COVID infection (unscathed)?”

” I believe that natural immunity acquired through having been infected, is better than vaccine derived immunity….”

Well, again, on the lighter side of things, social media has educated a lot of people and given their opinions a stage! If only life and science were so simple !

Like a stuck record, I must repeat “We dont know enough about this ‘novel’ Coronavirus as yet, We dont know how it affects us in the medium to long term…..!” Do keep in mind that this virus has been causing havoc for just about a year now and it truly does take many years for indepth scientific information to be collated, analysed and assimilated into the knowledge ecosystem. As of now we are learning on the fly….. So, possibly , you and I know as much as the real ‘experts’ out there.

As on 18 Mar 2021, it is recommended that all people should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had COVID-19 in the past.

We do not know as yet, for how long we are protected from getting sick again (i.e repeat infection) after recovering from COVID-19. There have been numerous reports from across the world of repeat infections. Hence, it is important to be aware that even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you can be infected again by the coronavirus, either the original coronavirus strain or even the new mutant strains which are emerging. While you may have some / partial immunity to the original coronavirus, you definitely may not have any immunity against the new mutant strains. Immunity development is a very complex process and we can at best guess our individual responses, as the human body is unique to each of us!

By now everyone of us is aware that getting COVID19 is like gambling with a loaded gun….. You do not know with certainty whether you will get seriously sick or not if you are infected! Vaccination provides you immunity without you falling sick the way you would, if you were actually infected with the coronavirus. Hence if I were to choose with getting some immunity, I would prefer the vaccine route as compared to getting infected with the coronavirus and getting sick with COVID19. You can read the CDC recommendation here.

Vaccination should be deferred for four to eight weeks after recovery from a COVID infection. Do not be in a rush, however do get vaccinated in due course of time, to harvest the benefit of the protection of vaccine derived immunity.
Another question that will keep pestering us : “Does vaccination with currently available vaccines, protect me against the newer strains / mutated virus of this Coronavirus?”
Again, no simple straight forward answer for this one too. Yes, at the current state of evidence, there is a likelihood of the currently available vaccines, providing protection against the newer strains / mutated virus variants. However, do keep in mind, that the vaccines are presently understood to be protecting us against getting severe illness or falling seriously sick even if we get infected. In all probability they will not prevent the virus (old, new, variant etc) from entering the body, i.e we can still get infected and spread the virus to others (hence the need to continue COVID Appropriate Behaviour even after vaccination).

In case you are taking any medications (and not just blood thinners), it is advisable to consult your doctor on telephone , prior to going to a vaccination centre. There are far too many medications and combinations thereof, to address through a generic post like this. Do not rely on social media, instead count on direct communication with your doctor, before you go for vaccination.

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At present (18 Mar 2021), I will recommend that you should take whatever vaccine you can get in India (i.e Covishield or Covaxin ). Millions have already been vaccinated with these two vaccines. Safe to say that it is safe , as of now. I am not commenting about the current social media scaremongering about the Astra Zeneca (Covishield) vaccine and its supposed linkage with clots. As and when the data is sifted more thoroughly, the ‘truth’ will come to light. Will be reading up on the evidence as it comes through and will distill the same for you to read subsequently.

Published by Delta Zulu Consultancy

I am a Public Health Specialist with a passion for sustainable promotion of human co-existence with the environment! My areas of interest and expertise are Health Risk Communication and Community Engagement, Food Safety, Environmental Medicine and Mass Gathering Medicine. I believe in leveraging the power of technology to capture the imagination of people to inspire them to achieve their health potential, in a sustainable manner. I aspire to empower my partners and motivate stake holders to consistently seek 'work around' solutions, while hoping to achieve an utopian ideal balance.

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