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Can I get the Delta variant if I already had covid-19?

Having had covid-19 gives you some immunity but it doesn’t provide the same protection as being fully vaccinated from getting infected by the Delta variant.

Having had covid-19 gives you some immunity but it doesn’t provide the same protection as being fully vaccinated from getting infected by the Delta variant.
Omar MarquesGetty Images

The Delta variant of the covid-19 virus is quickly spreading in the US and around the world, jumping to 20 percent of new cases in the US from 10 percent in the span of a week. People are wondering how effective the covid-19 vaccines and prior infection will be in the face of this growing threat.

Many people are under the false assumption that once you’ve had covid-19 and recovered that you are immune from getting reinfected. The body does develop an immune response after being infected with covid-19 but how long and how effective that immunity will be in the face of the emerging variants has not been determined yet. However, it appears that the Delta variant is more effective at getting past the bodies acquired immunity after an initial infection.

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Even those who have been fully vaccinated are at risk of contracting covid-19, albeit rare in both cases. No vaccine is one hundred percent effective. However, the covid-19 vaccines that have been approved have proven themselves to be highly effective in those who are fully vaccinated and are keeping people out of hospital and more importantly alive.

Those who have recovered from covid-19 are advised to get vaccinated, health experts say that it works like a booster for your immune system giving the body a more robust response to any future infection.

The Delta variant appears to be causing more reinfections

“We are seeing that natural immunity from prior strains of the virus does not provide very strong protection against this Delta variant,” Jason Bowling, an Infectious Disease specialist at the University Texas Health, said in an interview with San Antonio local news station KSAT12. Referring to data coming out of the UK where the Delta variant replaced the Alpha variant, first discovered in England, as the dominant strain “If you had COVID infection before, does not appear to provide the same level of protection against these new variants that we would hope for.”

“These people are getting reinfected. Some of them are having mild infections, but there’s a wide spectrum and some are still having severe disease up to and including death,” Dr. Bowling said. Adding “So, again, another message that we really need to get people fully vaccinated because we see that we have good protection with the full course of the vaccines.”

Getting fully vaccinated provides strong protection against the Delta variant

Although recent studies from the UK have shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines have reduced efficacy against the Delta variant the protection provided is still robust. For those that receive only one dose of the vaccines the risk of developing covid-19 symptoms caused by the Delta variant was 33 percent, versus 50 percent for the Alpha variant, currently the dominant strain in the US. Protection jumped to 88 percent with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 60 percent for the AstraZeneca vaccine with a second dose. Comparatively, against the Alpha variant two jabs gave 93 percent and 66 percent protection, respectively.

Perhaps more importantly, those who have had one dose are 75 percent less likely to be hospitalized and those who have had two doses 94 percent, compared with unvaccinated individuals.


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