The short answer: yes. Here’s why.
If you currently have COVID-19 or have had it in the past, you’re probably wondering if you should get vaccinated.
Immunity to COVID-19 can be fickle. In some people, if you’ve had the virus, you can develop a good immune response and test positive for the antibodies later on. For others, it’s unclear if they have the antibodies. The general consensus is that there is no definitive research guaranteeing you’ll never get COVID-19 again, as reinfection cases exist but seem to be less common.
Risks and Benefits If You've Already Had COVID-19
If you’ve already had COVID-19 in the past, there seems to be no specific risks in getting the vaccine. On the other hand, there are several benefits to the vaccine. For starters, it will make your immune system even more robust and ready to take on the virus if it comes into contact with it again. Think of it like replaying a level in a video game. Because you’ve been through it before, you know what to expect and how to vanquish your enemy.
Should I Wait so Other People Can Get the Vaccine First?
If you’re eligible for the vaccine in your area, you should sign up for an appointment. You only need to wait if you currently have COVID-19, have recently received other certain vaccines, or have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. In the latter case, the CDC recommends waiting 90 days after the treatment before getting the vaccine. (You’ve gotten this far, what’s a little time?)
With that being said, if you’ve never gotten COVID-19 and you’re part of the population who can currently get vaccinated, make an appointment! Learn more here about when and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
What to Do
It's important to remember that just because you've had COVID-19, it doesn't mean you are immune from getting it again. The best thing you can do is to go and get vaccinated when it's your turn. If you have any questions about vaccination, talk to your primary care provider and go to your state or local department of health website.
Stella A. Safo, MD, is an HIV primary care physician and assistant professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.