Vaccination is a very important tool in our arsenal of weapons to fight disease caused by viruses and bacteria. If it were not for widespread vaccination, millions would be sick, damaged, or dead from measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, etc…
And so I applaud the effort to produce a vaccine for COVID-19. But I have two glaring questions that I would like to have answered. If anybody out there knows the answers to these questions, I would really like to hear them.
1. Do people who already had COVID need to be vaccinated?
2. How long is the vaccine effective?
When someone already has had a certain disease, they don’t need to be vaccinated. They have what’s called “active immunity.” When I became a nurse they asked me if I had received the chicken pox vaccine. I said no, but I had chicken pox and got over it. And that was good enough. I contracted and subsequently recovered from COVID-19 in September. So I have antibodies for it, just like my body would produce if I got vaccinated. And if this is true, I’d really rather not get the vaccine, because every vaccine carries risks. The benefit of the vaccine usually outweighs the risk, but if you don’t need it, why risk it at all?
And I have been told that my naturally acquired active immunity may only last for 2-3 months. Well that’s a new one, because I’ve never heard of a virus that you defeat naturally that can attack you again successfully within a few months without some other disease process interfering with your immune system (like AIDS). I mean, yeah, over time your immunity can wane with certain diseases, requiring a booster shot, but that’s years. Tetanus is a good example of this.
So if all of that is true, then I would really like to know how long they expect the vaccine to be effective? If (as they say) the antibodies only last for 2-3 months, will we need to get this vaccine quarterly?
Also, there’s studies being done that show much longer immunity. There was a Portuguese study published last month showing that “90% of SARS-CoV-2–positive individuals had detectable antibodies from 40 days up to 7 months post-infection, with higher levels in patients with more severe disease.” Considering the fact that we only had large numbers of people who had recovered from COVID infection for about 7 months when the study was done, I’d say that the immunity probably lasts much longer.
This study concludes by saying, “Most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 will have protective immunity against circulating viruses for many months after initial infection, the authors conclude.” And that’s good news.