ATLANTA — New research suggests immunity after contracting COVID-19 is just as effective as the vaccine. With this recent finding, some are wondering if vaccines are still needed if you've had the virus.
One Emory University professor sheds light on the conversation developing around natural immunity and vaccination.
Jodie Guest is a professor and the Senior Vice Chair in the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health. Guest said since residents are so far from herd immunity, natural immunity alone is not the best form of protection.
Rather, "hybrid immunity" is best.
"What we know is what's called hybrid immunity, having a natural infection, and then also having a vaccination is actually probably your safest place," Guest said.
While hybrid immunity is important, Guest is not advocating for residents to infect themselves with the virus. For those who haven't had the virus, she said the shot still stands as the best form of protection against the virus.
Guest also reminds Georgians that the fight against COVID isn't over. She explains that while the number of reported COVID cases may seem to be dwindling, many who contract the virus are taking at-home tests. So, cases are underreported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent data shows that as of Feb. 15, it's seeing about 85 COVID deaths per week in Georgia.
Guest said some of these deaths could have been prevented with the vaccine and urges residents to keep up-to-date with their vaccines.
"You want to make sure that you have gotten the most recent vaccine or booster that you are eligible to get," Guest said. "And, at this point in time, if you've got the Bilvalent booster in the fall, then that is being up to date."
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