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Yes, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you've had the virus

Doctors and the CDC say Americans who have contracted COVID-19 should still get the vaccine when it is available to them.

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Understandably, people have a lot of questions when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines. One of the questions we’re getting over and over is whether or not someone who has contracted COVID-19 should still get the vaccine when it becomes available to them.

The answer from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and doctors is yes. Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, the vaccine will still offer important benefits and protections for you and those around you.

“At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19,” the CDC explains on its website. “The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person.  Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.”

RELATED: Pfizer study suggests coronavirus vaccine works on variants from Britain, South Africa

To be sure, the CDC also acknowledges that it will take time to know how long immunity is produced by vaccination as well, but adds “[b]oth natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about.”

Locally, Dr. Al Knable of New Albany recently got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after contracting the virus late last year. He said that it was particularly important to him to get the vaccine given his career.

“In my particular line of work, I’m up close and personal with several patients every single day,” Dr. Knable said. “The honest truth of this is I did not want to give this to anybody.

“If you look at the data now, yes most people who have had COVID have some antibodies, but again how long do they last? And how protective are those antibodies? So the last thing I want is to be in an uncertain window, have those native antibodies that I've ‘earned’ drop off, have a period where they're nil, and then I can end up being a carrier or get it a second time and then give it to somebody else.”

If you have a question about the COVID-19 vaccine you want us to work on answering, you can send it to us on Facebook or shoot us a text message at 502-582-7290.

Contact reporter Rob Harris at rjharris@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter (@robharristv) and Facebook.

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