Had COVID-19? Don’t Skip Vaccination

Just because the COVID-19 illness creates antibodies that help your body fight the virus doesn’t mean people who have already been infected should pass on vaccination.

Cases of reinfection are being documented around the world, including central Illinois. Chris Einspahr, an infection prevention and control lab scientist at Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH), notes that reinfection, although relatively rare, is a real concern.

“We’ve seen it with more than one patient here at DMH,” Einspahr said. “Even if a person was asymptomatic during their first illness, there is no guarantee they would not experience severe illness should they be reinfected.”

Ted Clark, MD, chief medical officer at DMH, said that repeat COVID-19 infections have occurred in local patients as soon as three months after initial infection. And even young people are not immune to long term COVID-19 complications on a reinfection that can include lung damage, severe illness and even death. Vaccination is a way to significantly reduce that risk.

“The vaccine has been shown through scientific study and its administration to millions of people worldwide to be safe and effective,” Clark said. “It is extremely unlikely there are long-term health issues associated with vaccination. Bottom line? The risk of COVID-19 is clear and present to all, while the risk of the vaccine is minimal.”

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