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Getting Answers: What would provide more immunity to COVID-19?

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TUCSON (KVOA)- Some viewers asked News 4 Tucson what provides more immunity to the coronavirus-- recovering from COVID-19 or the vaccine?

Deepta Bhattacharya, an associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona, said that since the vaccines have just begun to be administered, they don't really know the answer to this question at this time.

"After infection, there is a huge degree of variability in how many antibodies someone makes. This seems to correlate with how severe the symptoms were," he said. "People who have recovered from severe disease make a lot of antibodies and it will likely take a long time for those to decline to a point where you are no longer protected. People who recovered from mild disease make fewer antibodies, and asymptomatic people make even less. So people in these categories probably have less room and time before they are susceptible again."

As for the vaccine, Bhattacharya said that everything seems far more uniform.

"Based on the early data from Moderna, I would be very surprised if the antibodies after two shots drop below the protective threshold in less than a year," he said. "I expect the Pfizer vaccine will behave similarly."

The Centers for Disease Control reported that current evidence suggests that reinfection with the coronavirus is uncommon in the 90 days after the initial infection. However, it noted that it still needs more data regarding vaccine immunity to see how will it works.

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 5 p.m.

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