By all indications, things are going extremely well on the COVID-19 vaccine front. However, medical experts still contend that public health measures need to be maintained in the coming months. This may even be true for those already infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
According to revised literature from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is too varied to rely on biological modes of defense alone–saying nothing of the pre-existing conditions that further dictate one’s level of protection.
“Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before,” the agency writes.
“At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.”
Sanne de Jong shocked the medical community back in July when she tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 for a second time after contracting the virus in April.
Jong’s reinfection was rare but similar stories continued to pepper data sets into November. In fact, the number of reinfections has been steadily increasing.
“The question everybody wants to answer is: Is that second one going to be less severe most of the time or not?” Derek Cummings, who studies infectious disease dynamics at the University of Florida said of Jong’s unusual circumstance. “And what do reinfections teach us about SARS-CoV-2 immunity in general?”
Receiving a vaccine eliminates these kinds of lingering undetermined risks. Of course, there is a throng of curiosities that hang over Pfizer (in conjunction with BioNtech) and Moderna’s doses as well.
“We won’t know how long immunity produced by a vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works,” the CDC continued.
“Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.”
The most pressing challenge for health officials is reassuring the public that the novel platform technology that facilitated speedy clinical trials will not produce major adverse effects.
Current data supports side-effects that mimic a mild hangover and last for about a day.
“mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA),” the CDC concluded. “The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.”