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VERIFY: Should you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’ve already had the virus?

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, will it be recommended for those who have already had coronavirus to get vaccinated?

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Should you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’ve already had the virus?

ANSWER:

Experts say it will likely be recommended as it is unclear how long any antibodies remain in your system, and whether they provide any immunity to reinfection.

SOURCES:

Dr. Linda Nabha- Infectious Diseases Specialist

Dr. Stuart Ray- Professor of Medicine- Johns Hopkins Medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- "Busting Myths and Misconceptions about COVID-19 Vaccination"

PROCESS:

Recent news about COVID-19 vaccine candidates touting promising efficacy rates, has lots of people searching for information online.

There's been a lot of confusion and discussion about whether getting the virus means you are immune from getting it again, especially as a vaccine becomes a reality.

RELATED: VERIFY: When will you see a COVID-19 vaccine? Here's a timeline

So we're verifying: 

Should you get a vaccine if you've already tested positive for COVID-19?

Our sources are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Linda Nabha, an infectious diseases specialist and Dr. Stuart Ray, professor of medicine at John's Hopkins Medicine.

“Based on what we know, right now, it's likely that a vaccine would be recommended for a person who's had COVID, because we don't think that prior infection is likely to generate lasting immunity," Ray said. 

He explained that getting vaccinated is an extra layer of protection.

"There's lots of ways people might think that they are immune,  and given the stakes, it seems a good idea to be really sure," Ray said. "And so if the vaccine is found to be safe and effective, and we wouldn't offer it otherwise, then it seems likely that we would recommend it."

Nabha says even if a patient does acquire some antibodies, we still don’t know how long those antibodies last and whether they provide immunity.

“I've had patients in my office who had documented cases of COVID, documented right through the nasal swabs and... have been positive for a few months, and I've tested their antibody tests, you know, a few months later, and they're negative, shocking. But it does happen," Nabha said.

RELATED: VERIFY: Here's why you’ll likely need to get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There'll be no harm in getting the vaccine, if someone's been infected before, it just means that their immune responses will get stronger," Ray said. "So we don't have reason to think that, for instance, getting vaccinated after having had the infection would make you sicker."

On their website the CDC says “people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.”

So we can Verify, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who has already contracted the virus, our experts say it’s probably gonna be recommended that you get vaccinated.