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COVID-19 reinfection is much more likely to occur in the unvaccinated, latest CDC data shows

In a study conducted before the delta variant became widespread, those who were unvaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to get infected a second time.

COVID-19 reinfection is much more likely to occur in the unvaccinated, latest CDC data shows
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We know unvaccinated people are more likely to get infected with COVID-19. But new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that the unvaccinated are also more likely to get reinfected with COVID-19 after their first infection.

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The new study, released today, examined 246 people in Kentucky who were reinfected between May and June. It found that those who were unvaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to get infected with COVID-19 a second time than those who were vaccinated. Indeed, the research revealed that immunity from natural infection likely only lasts 90 days.

Caveat: This study was conducted before the delta variant became widespread in the United States. Research has found that the delta variant is even more contagious than previous versions of COVID. The CDC says that the emergence of new variants, including delta, might affect how long immunity from natural infection lasts.

Bottom line: Vaccination doesn’t just provide strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization; it also appears to make it less likely that you will be infected with the disease twice. As a result, the CDC recommends that all eligible people should be offered the vaccine to reduce their risk of infection—even if they have previously been infected with COVID.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a senior staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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