We’re still learning about natural immunity to COVID-19, but we know vaccines work | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

More than a third of COVID-19 infections result in no protective antibodies.

The following was written by Jax Hermer for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department blog:

We often hear from people who were infected with COVID-19 and want to know if they should still get vaccinated.

The answer to this one is easy: Yes!

The natural immunity your body builds after fighting off a disease is great. But the level of protection—and how long you’re protected for—varies from person to person and disease to disease. We’re still learning about natural immunity to COVID-19.

Lucky for us, we know a lot about the protection you get from the COVID-19 vaccines. We know vaccination is the safest and most effective tool to keep you safe from the worst outcomes.

No vaccine is 100% effective. But if you’re infected, vaccination is the best way to protect you from going to the hospital or dying.


We don’t have enough data to know how long natural immunity from COVID-19 lasts.

And we can’t predict if natural immunity from infection will provide much immunity against the new variants that will likely emerge.

Right now, evidence suggests:


That’s why health experts recommend you get vaccinated if you’ve had COVID-19. Vaccination plus past infection offers stronger and longer protection than past infection alone.

Pierce County has recently seen its highest number of cases and hospitalizations. Our unvaccinated children are still vulnerable.

Vaccination vs. infection? The choice should be clear. Vaccines:

  • Keep people out of the hospital.
  • Keep people alive.
  • Reduce your chance of getting sick again.
  • Protect young children who can’t get a vaccine yet.

If you have COVID-19 now, you can get the vaccine once your isolation period is over.

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, get vaccinated as soon as possible after your quarantine period if you don’t have symptoms. If you have symptoms, get a COVID-19 test and speak with your healthcare provider about when you can get vaccinated.


Find your dose of COVID-19 vaccine today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help with that, too. Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to protect yourself and stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.