4 News Now Q&A: Which protects you better, natural infection or vaccination?

Your Questions Answered

Q: Which protects you better, natural infection or vaccination? 

A: As with most illnesses, contracting COVID-19 provides immune memory that helps protect against a future infection. But it is still not clear how sick a person has to get to develop enough immune memory to be protective and for how long.

That is why the CDC recommends even people who have had COVID get vaccinated against it.

Research shows infections plus vaccination provides the strongest protection against different variants, possibly for a long time.

Experts say people who were infected and then vaccinated months later have what is called “hybrid immunity.”

A new study from the journal “Science” shows this combined protection seems to last longer than vaccination alone.

Researchers say getting vaccinated three months, or even better, six months, after infection provides the best possible protection.

A different study from the Rockefeller Institute in New York found people who get vaccinated after catching COVID may be protected against a wider range of variants than people who got vaccinated alone.

Still, the authors of the study say if you have to pick one, go with vaccination. They say the vaccine leads to higher levels of antibodies that fight an infection. These antibodies decrease over time, so the more you start with, the better.

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