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Health officials say not to rely on natural immunity to help fight COVID-19

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 08:19:10-04

MAGIC VALLEY — While some people may be relying on their natural immunity to help fight COVID-19, health officials say that is not enough to beat this virus.

“When we have a virus like COVID-19, contracting a disease and then surviving it does provide you with some amount of natural immunity, which is great. It does help protect you simply because your immune system has some idea of how to fight that virus in the future. The problem is after a specific amount of time, your immune system forgets,” Brianna Bodily, South Central Public Health District said.

This is why health officials say it is more effective to be vaccinated to help your body fight COVID-19 since it is unclear how long that natural immunity will last.

“We’ve had individuals who have contracted COVID-19 for a second time within a couple of months of contracting it the first time," Bodily said.

Health officials say getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the equivalent of your immune system going to the gym to prepare for a boxing match.

“If you get the COVID-19 vaccine, what it does is not only retrain your immune system to fight the COVID-19 virus, but it also helps to boost your immune system’s ability. Meaning there’s a better defense and a stronger defense when it comes time for it to fight that virus,” Bodily said.

They say this is true for other viruses as well, not just COVID-19.

“So it’s the same thing with other viruses. Your immune system fights that virus. It learns how to fight the virus. It learns how to identify the virus, and then it remembers how to fight that virus for a specific amount of time. Depending on the strength of your immune system. Depending on the virus itself. Depending on your immune system’s response. There are a lot of factors that go into play," Bodily said.

Health officials continue to urge those who are eligible to get the vaccine to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other viruses like the flu.

“So the CDC and the health district both recommend that even if you have contracted COVID-19 in the past. You still get the COVID-19 vaccine because it will give you one step further in protecting yourself from this virus," Bodily said.