×

Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve already had the coronavirus

Infection from the coronavirus can produce weaker immunity than vaccination. Wenmei Zhou/ DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve already had the coronavirus

Infection from the coronavirus can produce weaker immunity than vaccination. Wenmei Zhou/ DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve already had the coronavirus

Infection from the coronavirus can produce weaker immunity than vaccination. Wenmei Zhou/ DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve already had the coronavirus

Infection from the coronavirus can produce weaker immunity than vaccination. Wenmei Zhou/ DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccines offer a safe and reliable path to immunity against both the older strains of coronavirus and against emerging strains, especially the new delta variant.

Jennifer T. Grier, University of South Carolina

As someone who studies immune responses to respiratory infections, I’ve watched news of the emerging coronavirus variants with concern. I wondered whether vaccination or previous infection would provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 strains, especially the new, highly transmissible delta variant, which has rapidly spread to at least 70 countries.

A person can develop immunity – the ability to resist infection – in two ways: either after being infected with a virus or by getting vaccinated. However, immune protection isn’t always equal. Vaccine immunity and natural immunity for SARS–CoV–2 can differ in terms of the strength of the immune response or the length of time that the protection lasts. Additionally, not everyone will get the same level of immunity from infection, while immune responses to the vaccines are very consistent.

The difference in immune response between vaccination and infection seems to be even greater when dealing with new variants. In early July, two new studies were published that show COVID-19 vaccines, though slightly less effective than they are against the older strains of the virus, still seem to provide excellent immune response against the new variants. Researchers looked at how antibodies bind to new variants of the coronavirus and found that people who were previously infected with coronavirus might be susceptible to the new strains, while people who were vaccinated were more likely to be protected.

COVID-19 vaccines offer a safe and reliable path to immunity against both the older strains of coronavirus and against emerging strains, especially the new delta variant.

A coronavirus particle with antibodies binding to the spike proteins.

The immune system will usually produce a good immune response – including antibodies and T cells – following infection, but not always. Keith Chambers/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Disagree with this article?
Create an Opposing View
Add Related Article