- Anyone who previously came down with the coronavirus should still get vaccinated, according to Dr. Fauci.
- Especially now that more contagious COVID strains from the UK and South Africa are in the US, the possibility of re-infection is high.
- To date, the US has vaccinated 27.2 million people.
People who already came down with the coronavirus should still get vaccinated, according to recent remarks from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Although the human body develops its own antibodies upon initial infection with COVID-19, health experts still aren’t sure how long these antibodies last. To this point, Tom Hanks’s wife Rita Wilson this week revealed that she no longer has COVID antibodies 10 months after her initial diagnosis. In short, the possibility of re-infection is real and everyone should get vaccinated as soon as they can.
Compounding matters is that more contagious COVID strains from the UK and South Africa recently made their way into the US. The UK strain has already been discovered in dozens of states and the South African strain was recently discovered in two states last week. Both strains are said to be more than 50% more contagious than the original, and the South African strain is particularly worrisome as it renders existing COVID-19 vaccines less effective. Alongside that, the South African strain increases the probability that someone who already had COVID can get infected again.
As it stands now, there’s a race to vaccinate as many Americans as possible before the new strains become dominant. According to some health experts, the UK strain could become the dominant strain in the US as early as March.
Not one to mince words, Fauci told CNN this week that as the new strains become more common, there’s a “very high rate” that someone who had COVID-19 will get it again if exposed to these new strains.
“If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicates that even if you’ve been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection,” Dr. Fauci said.
“A lot of people say, ‘Look, I had it, I’m good to go, I don’t need to get vaccinated,” Fauci added. “Not the case. You still need to be vaccinated and this is precisely why.”
And while existing COVID-19 vaccines are perhaps less effective against the South African strain, the vaccine could still offer up enough protection to prevent a mild case of COVID from becoming severe.
According to the latest data from the CDC, the US has vaccinated upwards of 27.2 million people to date. 6.4 million people, meanwhile, have received both vaccine doses.
With the vaccination rate in the US currently at about 1.3 million doses per day, President Biden believes we can get that figure up to 1.5 million, a goal that — if achieved — could help the US reach herd immunity by the summer.
Meanwhile, Fauci believes that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may receive an EUA from the FDA within two weeks. If this is indeed the case, the coronavirus vaccine supply could increase drastically over the next few months. What’s more, Pfizer recently said that it will deliver 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the US by the end of May.