NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nailing down how long natural immunity lasts after catching COVID-19 has been a hot topic since the pandemic started nearly two years ago.

Scientists are now learning more about how natural antibodies compare to those from vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weighed in last week with a detailed report on how infection-induced immunity compares to vaccine-induced immunity. News 2 reached out to Dr. David Aronoff, the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to learn more about natural immunity versus vaccine immunity.

“Getting infected with a SARS-CoV-2 virus induces an immunity that lasts probably on the order of six months or longer against getting reinfected,” Dr. Aronoff said.

However, there are some snags when it comes to this natural production of antibodies.

Dr. Aronoff continued, “The problem is, is that’s an average. And there’s a lot of variation there. People who have gotten infected, but were asymptomatic or had very mild disease are less likely to have a durable, long-lasting immune defense.”

Vaccines, on the other hand, are more predictable.

“When we give the vaccines in their proper dose, they really do provide a very predictable, strong immune defense against getting COVID-19,” said Dr. Aronoff.

Vaccinations are also recommended even for those who have already contracted COVID-19. A vaccine can create an even more robust immune response for those who have already been infected.

“We know from studies, including some being done in the United States, that if you’ve recovered from COVID, even mild COVID and you get vaccinated, that you are more protected against getting COVID again than if you were not vaccinated.”

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The bottom line is that vaccines are safe and recommended for those who have already contracted COVID-19.