Dr. Marc Siegel: I had measles and don't need a vaccine to protect me. What if I've had COVID?

My office manager had COVID three months ago and has thus far refrained from taking the COVID vaccine. I continue to encourage it though I do believe she is still protected by natural immunity. The question is for how long?

I was born just before the measles shot became available, and I, like most children my age, suffered through a bout of measles. Luckily, I didn’t develop pneumonia or brain swelling, I did just fine. And science has determined that my immunity from measles now is lifelong, hence I don’t need a measles shot.

I also had chicken pox, which means I don’t need a varicella vaccine, though I am at greater risk for getting a severe case of shingles (recurrence of the virus that causes chicken pox which is harbored in my nerves) than if I had received the vaccine. 

The point is that natural immunity after infection isn’t perfect, but it is important. Similarly, no one should wish for COVID-19, but if you have it, it is clear that your immunity lasts for at least several months if not longer. In fact, a new study from Cleveland Clinic looking at over 50,000 workers there beginning in December found that the group

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