COVID vaccine

People Who Recovered From COVID and Received Vaccine May Be Better Protected from Variants, Expert Says

Those who recovered from COVID and received the vaccine may never need a booster shot

If a person has successfully combated COVID-19 and received a vaccination, that individual could be protected from variants of the virus, according to a Chicago expert.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event Thursday that, based on recent studies, people who fought the coronavirus and are protected with the vaccine could have a strong enough immune system against any new variants.

"In the people who had recovered from COVID and been vaccinated -- what they saw was that basically their immune system had learned more, how to also protect them from addition to some immunity against, you know, the original strain of COVID," Arwady said.

She explained in patients with this kind of protection, researchers saw a 50 fold increase in neutralizing antibodies, which at high enough levels, could kill off the virus, as well as any additional variants arising worldwide.

"If somebody, you know, is recovered from COVID, and is vaccinated, you know, they might never need a booster shot potentially," Arwady added.

In the same event, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city will fully reopen in Phase 5 on June 11 with the rest of Illinois.

"Because you've masked up, socially distanced and got vaccinated, we're now moving to Phase 5 on Friday, June 11 in alignment with the state. This means Chicago is scheduled to fully reopen," Lightfoot tweeted.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last month that Illinois - currently in the Bridge Phase, which is a transitional period before a full reopening in Phase 5 - was on track to move to that final phase of the plan on June 11.

Phase 5 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan would remove all remaining capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, according to the state’s COVID website. Conventions, festivals and other large events would be allowed to proceed at full capacity, and masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals in most settings, per CDC guidance.

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