Recent study suggests unvaccinated Kentuckians at risk of reinfection: Health experts react

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 7:47 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - A recent study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Public Health has concluded that unvaccinated Kentuckians are more than twice as likely to re-contract COVID-19.

“That study is a very good indicator that we should be offering the vaccine and people should take the vaccine even if they had COVID-19 already,” ARH Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Fares Khater said.

Local health experts are in full agreement that catching COVID-19 on its own may not be enough to protect you in the future.

“You can not say I had it, I have immunity, I don’t need the vaccine. That is a wrong statement,” Dr. Khater said. “The vaccine provides a better quality and longer immunity than natural infection.”

Kentucky River District Public Health Director Scott Lockard has had personal experience with COVID-19. He echoes Dr. Kahter’s sentiments that vaccines are key to reducing the risk for potential reinfection.

“A person produces so many antibodies from having COVID but then the way the vaccines interact in our bodies, they just allow our body’s immune system to prepare so much more,” Lockard said.

Dr. Khater said that we are now entering the fourth wave of the pandemic, leaving the public even more vulnerable and the healthcare system far more strained than they were a year ago.

“Our hospitals are full. Currently we have 120 patients in the hospital in all hospitals,” Dr. Khater said. “22 patients are in the ICU and 12 may be on the ventilator and still people are hesitant to take the vaccine.”

Both Lockard and Dr. Khater are in agreement that vaccines do make a difference.

“The best tool in our toolbox: get vaccinated, wear a mask if you’re in public places, in large crowds,” Lockard said. “Protect yourself, try to social distance. We need to go back to the way we were thinking about this a year ago.”

For the latest information on COVID-19 incidence rates in your county, click here.

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