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Should I Get the Vaccination if I Already Had COVID-19?

Should I Get the Vaccination if I Already Had Covid-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has required many people to distance themselves from loved ones and friends. This forced distance has created an enormous emotional toll for patients undergoing infertility treatment, which can feel isolating even without a pandemic. The decision to move forward or not with infertility treatment during the pandemic also caused great stress for many patients. Now many patients question “Should I get the vaccination if I already had COVID-19?” and “Is the vaccine safe during IVF treatment?”

What Test is Most Accurate for Testing COVID-19?

Most adults who tested positive experience nagging flu-like symptoms, fatigue, GI distress, and a distinct lack of taste and smell. A positive test can cause concern, fear, and anxiety over the required quarantine that follows.

Known exposure or symptoms, or both, have led many patients down the path to a COVID-19 test, often referred to simply as “the swab.” Although the COVID-19 test is fairly quick and lasts just a few seconds, most have described a feeling of being uncomfortable as it is administered. The PCR test is sensitive, specific, and accurate over 99% of the time. In other words, it doesn’t lie.

How Vaccines Work

Vaccination regimens start young (hepatitis B, Rubella, Varicella, Tetanus, and the like). Most of the shots (inoculations) serve to teach the immune system about intruders. The first shot is a schooling, it says “when your body sees this viral marker again, it must be recognized as dangerous and be destroyed.” Vaccinations early provide a silent and awaiting army, ready to pounce. Vaccinations often need to be repeated on intervals every 10 years (tetanus), every year (influenza) or maybe only once in a lifetime (Hepatitis B). There are simple tests (called antibody titers) that can measure the amount of antibody (the protective force) in the blood and we equate this level to immunity. Sometimes immunity can prevent a disease from occurring (as Hepatitis B) and sometimes it can lessen the course of the disease (influenza and RSV).

So, having clearly tested positive for COVID-19 – a natural vaccination to the coronavirus, are you immune?  The evolving answer is maybe yes and maybe no.

Should I Get the Vaccination if I Already Had COVID-19?

Certainly the news has been alive with cases of people with documented COVID-19, recovery and what seems like re-infection with a second (or third) documented positivity. Are these people the exception or the rule?

One can obtain a COVID-19 antibody test to see if the body has mounted a response. These antibodies can be present for longer times but more often, seem to last for one to several months. We can assume that for the time the antibodies are present, you are afforded some protection. The question that is unanswered is “If I do not have antibodies to COVID-19, can I get it again?” It is possible that despite the lack of antibodies, there can be a protective effect. Perhaps, the body has a memory and mounts a relatively quick responsive in the absence of the surveillance antibodies.

We do not yet know for sure, however. Time will give us all the answers we seek, and until then, wear a mask, get vaccinated when it’s possible and appropriate to do so, and remain vigilant.

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