Covid vaccine: Is the vaccine more effective if you have already had Covid?
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Covid vaccination is currently the only path out of the worldwide pandemic, with people growing tired of successive lockdowns. So far, several countries have started successfully vaccinating vulnerable cohorts, providing them with lasting immunity. But some questions have arisen about the efficacy of the jabs compared to natural infection.
Is the vaccine more effective if you have already had Covid?
Covid vaccines have so far surpassed the minimum efficacy required by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca’s jabs all provide 90 percent or more protection from the disease with two doses.
Scientists haven’t disclosed the protection offered by a Covid infection, but they have found people can get the disease twice.
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As such, the immunity nurtured by infection may ultimately turn out ineffective.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist with health and beauty retailer Boots, said experts don’t yet understand how long people are immune after they have had Covid.
Getting the vaccine, he said, provides more protection for longer.
Mr Donovan said: “Due to the health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection is possible, even if you have previously tested positive, you should still have the vaccine but you’ll need to leave a gap between your positive test and getting the vaccine.
“Experts do not know how long someone is protected for after recovering from COVID-19, as immunity varies from person to person.
“Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, and the vaccination should provide longer immunity, but more studies are needed to better understand this, and they are currently underway.”
While infection produces antibodies needed to fight Covid, the mechanisms behind vaccines provide a stronger reaction.
They provide the body with instructions on how to deter infection.
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One of the approaches used by scientists is new in the vaccine world.
Both Pfizer and Moderna created mRNA vaccines containing instructions for the body to make a harmless spike protein.
In the virus, the protein invades healthy cells, but in the vaccine, it prompts the body to create lymphocytes.
These cells then destroy the home-made proteins and retain the knowledge, which allows them to kill the real thing.
AstraZeneca, in partnership with Oxford University, used a different method.
Their vaccine deploys the same instructions but piggybacked on an inactive chimp adenovirus (a relative common cold relative).
Like the other jabs, the body then uses the information provided and produces antibodies.
These jabs have so far shown comprehensive, lasting coverage which natural infection cannot match, and without potentially life-threatening symptoms.
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