Doctors still encourage vaccine for those who have had COVID-19, recovered
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As more people across Sedgwick County opt to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a challenge for local health care professionals continues to be working to convince those hesitant to get a vaccine.
Over the past several weeks, Ascension Via Christi in Wichita reported that nine out of 10 patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 have not been vaccinated but are eligible for a vaccine.
“I know it’s protective and it’s protecting people. I tell the public that what we’ve seen last year is nothing like before. We lost a lot of lives that we could have saved if we had the vaccine available,” said Ascension Via Christi Medical Director of Hospitalists Dr. Chady Sarraf.
Some are hesitant to get the vaccine because they have already recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
“The people who had COVID and did well, congratulations. They were so lucky that they survived that infection with hopefully no chronic consequences,” Dr. Sarraf said.
He said those who have recovered the virus do have natural immunity, but not permanently. It’s uncertain exactly how long those antibodies last.
“Everything natural is really the best way to go, but we think the average is six to seven months at the most, and we’re not sure about how much it gives us protection against the new variants,” Dr. Sarraf said.
The CDC recommends that people get the vaccine regardless of whether they’ve already had COVID-19, as experts don’t yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again with COVID-19 after recovering from the virus.
“Having COVID doesn’t mean someone is out of the woods from getting COVID again and possibly having more severe consequences than what they have had before,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said.
Dr. Sarraf said he wants to get the attention of those who are hesitant about the vaccines.
“Again, I’m not underestimating natural immunity. That’s really the way to go, but again, that will not last forever, and it may not cover you from the new variants that (are) becoming dominant in the US and in the world,” he said. “So the vaccine will give you the opportunity to extend your coverage, your protection.”
If you still have questions about a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Sarraf recommends talking with your physician for medical guidance.
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