Some people may be wondering if getting a COVID-19 vaccine is as effective at building immunity as getting infected by the virus. The answer is that the body will build immunity to COVID-19 in a different way with the vaccine than through infection.
However, infection has the potential to lead to serious symptoms, which may prove to be deadly. Natural immunity, which is gained from having an infection, may not even last very long. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), natural immunity also varies from person to person and there is real potential for re-infection.
Vaccination is the best tool we have to help us end the COVID-19 pandemic in Oregon and across the globe. The mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna give our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
By getting vaccinated, wearing masks, washing our hands, staying physically distant and avoiding large indoor gatherings, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. If enough of us get vaccinated, we can achieve community immunity and the virus will not spread so quickly.