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No, a previous COVID infection does not make you "naturally immunized," says health official

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey

Ingham County’s top health official says claims by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey about the “natural immunity” of people who have had COVID-19 are incorrect.

Shirkey tweeted Tuesday that Michigan’s immunity totals should be the sum of those who have been vaccinated plus those who have been infected and recovered.

Health Officer Linda Vail says natural infection will create some immunity, but there’s more to it than that.

“How long that lasts, how robust that is, is an unknown," she says. "There are studies out there showing that the vaccine does give a more robust response. That’s not how the CDC, nor the state, are adding up these numbers.”

Vail points out that the state of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control do not use the phrase “naturally immunized” to describe people who have had COVID-19. Vail adds that there is also concern about whether that immunity would continue to protect against variants of the coronavirus.

Being infected twice is rare, she says, but can happen, and can lead to life-threatening complications.

In his tweet, Shirkey includes a photo of himself wearing a wristband which reads “naturally immunized.”

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