Walk-ins Accepted Daily at State Health Departments

I Want To Find... Search Site:

Find COVID-19 Resources For:

The CDC has released a review of over 90 published studies about the difference between infection-induced immunity (immunity provided by prior COVID-19 infection) and vaccine-induced immunity (immunity provided by vaccine).  These studies and research papers show that vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 illnesses. 

Throughout the pandemic, and especially since the COVID-19 vaccine became available in late 2020, people have asked if one type of immunity is better than the other.  Below are answers to some commonly asked COVID-19 immunity questions. 

Q: If you had COVID-19 once, are you in the clear? 

A: No. Prior infection can provide some level of protection, but we don’t know how strong or how long that protection may be.  Each person’s immune response, or how they build a defense against the virus, can vary based on their infection and health.

Q: How does the vaccination help reduce your risk? 

A: Vaccination is designed to prepare your immune system to respond when exposure to the virus occurs. Vaccination reduces the risk of infection, reinfection, and severe outcomes like hospitalization and death. 

Q: How long is the average person immune from COVID-19 illness after being infected?

A: Individuals are at low risk of getting infected with COVID-19 again for at least six months.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective? 

A: Yes. It provides the best protection available against infection and reinfection.  

Q: Are older people more at risk? 

A: Yes. Older adults and immunocompromised individuals have a higher risk of infection or reinfection. 

Q: Would it be beneficial to contract the virus to protect from future strains intentionally? 

A: No. COVID-19 varies in severity and can lead to severe complications and death. Vaccination is the safest and most effective protection available.

Q: If you’ve had COVID-19 before the Delta variant, could you still contract Delta? 

A: Yes. Studies show that people infected with the original virus strain or subsequent variants before the Delta variant can be reinfected. 

Q: If you’ve already been infected, should you get vaccinated? 

A: Yes. Those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection can increase their protection and antibody response by getting vaccinated. Vaccination is currently the safest way to protect yourself from COVID-19 illness, severe disease, and death.

Q: Can you get the vaccine while you’re infected? 

A: No. People with COVID-19 should receive the vaccine after they have recovered from their illness and after they have concluded isolation. 

Q: Are all individuals who have previously been infected equally protected from contracting COVID-19 in the future? 

A: No. Infection-induced immunity is uncertain and inconsistent. Age, health condition, and severity of the infection are just some factors impacting a person’s immunity from future infection.  Vaccine-induced immunity is more consistent in providing individuals protection from illness.  

The CDC continues to urge all eligible people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to prevent contraction and slow the spread of the disease. For information on vaccination sites near you, visit https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/availability/.