What offers better protection: a COVID-19 vaccine or previous infection?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If you’re infected with COVID-19 do the antibodies you develop offer better protection than the COVID-19 vaccines?

A CDC study looking at infected people in Kentucky found you’re better protected from COVID-19 by having a vaccine. It found people were more than two times more likely to get reinfected if they were relying on antibodies from a previous infection versus being vaccinated.

The CDC estimated people have some kind of immunity for about 90 days following a COVID-19 infection. But, the introduction of variants like the delta has made that increasingly uncertain. Previous reports have concluded that the protective antibodies built up after an infection are weaker and inconsistent.

The CDC said in their latest report that among “previously infected persons, full vaccination is associated with reduced likelihood of reinfection, and, conversely, being unvaccinated is associated with higher likelihood of being reinfected.”

It’s why even previously infected people are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Guidance calls for that vaccine to be administered 90 days after an infected person stops feeling symptoms from COVID-19.

So far, there is still limited information about reinfection among fully vaccinated people. Breakthrough cases, as they are referred to, are still considered rare events.

In most of those rare events, infected patients have been able to largely stay out of the hospital.

On Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported:

  • 7,000 COVID-19 breakthrough cases
  • Thos cases resulted in 383 hospitalizations and 66 deaths.

The breakthrough cases represent 0.1 percent of all fully vaccinated people in the state. Much of that is blamed on the current surge stemming from the delta variant of the disease.

The CDC reports 6,587 breakthrough cases have resulted in hospitalization or death so far. It stated 19 percent of those infections were asymptomatic.

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