Doctors: You should still get vaccinated even if you already beat COVID-19 once

A health care worker preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. (FOX 9)

Minnesota health leaders are urging everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine -- even if you have already beat the virus once.

Speaking Thursday, doctors want to make it clear that even those who have previously recovered from COVID-19 should get the shot.

Those who have had the virus have likely developed antibodies to help fend off reinfection but studies show that immunity is not guaranteed. An Allina Health infectious disease specialist says vaccinations offer another layer of protection for anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past.

"If you got a case of COVID and it was really mild, you might be getting overconfident," said Dr. Frank Rhame. "The people who get COVID who have a bad case, I don’t understand why they aren’t grabbing every bit of immunity they can get."

To help get shots in the arms of the most vulnerable, those who had COVID-19 were asked to wait to get vaccinated during the initial rollout of doses. The Minnesota Department of Health is urging everyone 16 years of age and older to get vaccinated against the virus.

"People who’ve had COVID-19 need to be vaccinated because they do not have durable protection from the disease," added Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health. "So we would say if you’ve had COVID, go right ahead and get vaccinated. The only time that we would say you should not be vaccinated if you are still in the period where you need to be isolated or you still have symptoms."

Studies also show that vaccinations work well against different variant strains. Doctors say, right now, it's unclear how well natural immunity works against variants.