While getting vaccinated helps reduce the chances of an initial Covid infection and possible hospitalization or death, a new report from the Alaska Division of Public Health reveals that Alaskans (ages 12 and older) who have already been infected with the virus enjoy substantial immunity, whether vaccinated or not.
While the chances of reinfection were 26% higher in the non-vaxxed, these reinfections almost never require hospitalization or lead to death. In fact, the state only recorded seven total hospitalizations (between July and September) among those ages 12 and older who were re-infected. Two other hospitalizations from reinfection occurred among those deemed “fully vaccinated” and one occurred in someone partially vaccinated.
Likewise, the chances of dying from reinfection were almost nil, with only four total deaths. Three of these among the unvaccinated.
Notably, of the nearly 200,000 Alaskans under age 19, zero have died from Covid this year.
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The report strongly encourages vaccination for all age groups, but admits that immunity wains over time, especially among older people. This trend “can lead to an increasing proportion of breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated.”
Additionally, the report says natural immunity may build up faster among the unvaccinated because they are more susceptibility to an initial infection, which then results in greater protection from the virus.
While there are increasingly more breakthrough infections after getting vaccinated, the report concludes that vaccines are still “highly effective” at least in terms of protecting against hospitalization or death among those who have never had the virus.
The report reiterates the CDC’s advise that both the vaccinated and non-vaccinated wear masks while in public indoor settings in areas where the virus is still spreading.