Should individuals who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 still be vaccinated against COVID-19?

22 Mar 2021
Respiratory conditions
  • COVID-19
Type of resource
IPCRG COVID-19 and respiratory Q&A

What the research says:

Research indicates that following SARS-Cov-2 infection the majority of individuals develop an immune response although the extent of immunity is not clear and infection control methods should continue to be employed. An initial antibody response appears to decline over weeks following an active infection as would be expected. Infection also appears to stimulate a robust T cell response that may provide long lasting immunity. The duration of immunity following COVID infection has been shown to extend to at least 6 months and research is ongoing to address this question.

What this means for your clinical practice:

  • COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to all eligible individuals according to local guidance, regardless of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection status.
  • As the degree of immunity provided by previous SARS-CoV-2 infection is not clear all patients, regardless of prior infection status, should be advised to continue to observe social distancing and infection control measures according to local guidance.

Useful links and supporting references:

Huang AT, et al. A systematic review of antibody mediated immunity to coronaviruses: antibody kinetics, correlates of protection, and associated of antibody responses with severity of disease. Nature Comms 2020;11:4704. Available at: Accessed March 2021.

Plüddemann A, Aronson JK. What s the role of T cells in COID-19 infection? Why immunity is about more than antibodies. Available at: Accessed March 2021.