While most medical experts say getting the COVID vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, others argue that immunity from a previous infection should be considered an alternative.
News Center 7’s Mike Campbell spoke to the chief medical officer of a local hospital network about the debate that has many people taking sides over what is better or lasts longer.
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Doctors say you can be protected by both natural immunity, infection survival, or a vaccine. The only problem with natural immunity is that you aren’t sure how big your viral load is in the first place.
“Natural immunity absolutely works, it absolutely protects people, vaccines absolutely work, they absolutely protect people,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer of Miami Valley Hospital.
Colon told News Center 7 that there are different studies that describe one side or the other as being more effective, and there is no scientific certainty except that the best approach is to use both.
“If you’ve had an infection before and been vaccinated, you have the best level of protection,” Colon said.
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Colon says people need to stop trying to pretend an approach is better or attack the other side of the COVID-19 debate.
Colon said “it is absolutely not a safe strategy to wait until the infection becomes immune.”
Colon said it’s because you have to survive the infection to gain natural immunity.
It becomes more and more difficult with the appearance of the delta variant and other variants, and without the vaccine, people risk hospitalization and death. Even if a person recovers, they could still have symptoms in the long term.
Colon said those worried about the potential side effects of the vaccine, which he called very weak, do not understand that almost all of these dangers are much greater from the virus than from the vaccine.
“Heart inflammation in particular occurs more frequently with COVID-19 vaccines,” Colon said.
Many people who have survived COVID infections told News Center 7 that they did not think they were counted in the number of people considered to be more immune from the virus, as are those who are vaccinated.
Colon said that this category of people could count as a number that can be immunized, but no one knows how much they could be protected.
“We know what dose of vaccine everyone got, we don’t know how much virus a person has been exposed to,” Colon said.
The only thing the doctors have said is that if you reach a point where you are worried enough to take a COVID test, you would probably like to be protected as well as possible, and that could include both natural immunity and a vaccine.
© 2021 Cox Media Group