Ask A Doctor: If I’ve Had COVID-19 Do I Still Need A Vaccine?

A UT Health San Antonio physician has the latest recommendations for staying safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Michael Marks & Caroline CovingtonJuly 28, 2021 11:17 am,

In this installment of Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio physician, Dr. Fred Campbell, has answers to the most pressing coronavirus questions.

Who is likely to need a vaccine booster shot to protect against COVID-19?

It’s still unclear, Campbell says, how long a vaccinated individual is protected against COVID-19 infection. Research is still being conducted and he expects results later this summer, including which populations may need a vaccine booster shot in the near future.

“I think it shouldn’t be too much longer before we’re certain as to whether or not everyone needs a booster dose, or whether it’s going to be populations such as the elderly and people with multiple medical problems,” he said.

Do antibodies from a COVID-19 infection protect me longer than a vaccine?

Campbell says so far, researchers haven’t determined which lasts longer, or potentially protects better, against COVID-19 infections. But people who have already been infected with COVID-19 appear to have less severe effects if they become reinfected. That doesn’t mean people who’ve had COVID-19 shouldn’t still get vaccinated.

“We also know that the vaccine is extremely effective. I’m inclined to think that individuals who have had infection are still going to benefit from vaccination, and that’s the current recommendation,” he said.

What do I do if my child’s doctor is giving vaccination advice that contradicts public health guidance?

Some doctors will recommend that certain patients avoid vaccination because of a health condition or an adverse reaction to a particular medication. Campbell says a parent should see if that’s the case before considering switching providers or seeking out a vaccination for their child elsewhere. COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved for children 12 and older, and Campbell says vaccination is appropriate for most kids.

“The vaccine has been shown to have a very, very good safety record. And there are rare situations where it would not be considered safe to go ahead with,” he said. “I am a very firm advocate of universal vaccination as soon as individuals are deemed to be in a safe group.”

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