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If You Are A COVID-19 Survivor, Will You Receive The Vaccine?

By Priya Mewada +2 more

It has recently been announced that India will roll out its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 2021. All Indians have sighed with relief because we hope that very soon things will go back to normal.

covid vaccine

But one question that is on our minds and that has not yet been answered is this – Will COVID-19 survivors get the vaccine?

Here’s what we know so far-

COVID-19 survivors may have the required immunity

Why do some people think COVID-19 survivors do not need the vaccine? Let us first see how the COVID-19 vaccine works. Please modify this statement to ” The vaccine works by either introducing killed coronavirus or structures similar to coronavirus into the body. In response to the vaccine which contains “killed coronavirus” or the “corona virus-like organisms”, our body starts producing antibodies which help to fight back in case of any exposure to Coronavirus. Thus, vaccination can help in protecting the body from this virus.

This is immunization through vaccination. But did you know that immunization also happens through exposure to disease? People who have caught COVID-19 have also developed antibodies the same way. And those antibodies are in their blood now. Hence, COVID-19 survivors are already immune to COVID-19. They have the required immunity without the COVID-19 vaccine. That is why many experts feel that the doses of coronavirus vaccine should be saved for people who have never contracted COVID-19.

Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant surges and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice were more than twice as likely to get reinfected.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Vaccines may not suit COVID-19 survivors

Another reason why healthcare professionals are hesitant to vaccinate COVID-19 survivors is that they do not know how their bodies would react to the COVID-19 vaccine

In all the COVID-19 vaccine trials only people who had never been exposed to the virus were injected with the vaccine candidates. No COVID-19 vaccine trial enlisted COVID-19 survivors. So there is no data or analysis of how the COVID-19 vaccine acts in their body. It might be dangerous to give them the COVID-19 vaccine.  

Vulnerable groups even among COVID-19 survivors may need the vaccine

Might COVID-19 survivors be in need of the COVID-19 vaccine after all? There are conflicting studies on how long their acquired immunity lasts. While some reports have said that immunity lasts for only 3 months others say that they might be safe for longer than that. 

And what about COVID-19 survivors with comorbidities such as heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, etc? Their immunity is already compromised. Again, it is not known whether they might require extra protection which the COVID-19 vaccine may offer. 

For now who’ll be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Indian government has also released a priority list of people who will be receiving the vaccine. As expected, the healthcare providers, frontline workers, people above 50 years of age, and people with comorbidities will receive the vaccine before others. 

Until further information is released by the Government, we will not know whether COVID-19 survivors will need the COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, let us all comply with COVID-19 protocol to stay safe. 

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