Understanding Natural Immunity 

Published April 6, 2022
See all editions of Covid in Focus here.

Help Your Campus Community Understand Natural Immunity

If you’ve been following the latest COVID-19 news, you’ve probably heard the term “natural immunity.” The idea is that if you’ve had COVID-19 recently, you may be less likely to get it again — at least for a short period of time. But we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts, and the level of protection varies from person to person.

Here’s what we know for sure: even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, you can still get it again. And the COVID-19 vaccines offer stronger protection than natural immunity. That means getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself from getting very sick.

Share the content below to educate your students, faculty, and staff about natural immunity — and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

Tips to Share with Students, Faculty, and Staff

Share the following talking points to help your students, faculty, and staff stay healthy. You can copy and paste the content below into your own communication materials (like emails, campus news articles, and blog posts).

What Is Natural Immunity From COVID-19?

You may have heard that people can have natural immunity from COVID-19. The idea is that if you’ve had COVID-19 recently, you may be less likely to get it again — at least for a short period of time.

What we know so far  

Let’s say you’ve just had COVID-19 and you run into a friend who has the virus. Your body may recognize the virus and remember how to fight it off. So you may be less likely to get sick — and if you do get sick, it might not be as bad as the first time. This is called natural immunity.

What scientists are working to learn

We don’t know how long natural immunity lasts, or how long your body will remember the COVID-19 virus. Plus, natural immunity works better for some people than others. Basically, some people’s bodies are better at remembering how to fight off COVID-19. This can depend on age, health problems, and other factors. Scientists are working to learn more about natural immunity and why it varies from person to person.

Why it’s still important to get vaccinated and boosted

Think of the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters like a study guide. They teach your body how to fight off the virus — and you don’t have to get sick for your body to learn the lesson.

Getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself from getting very sick with COVID-19. Here’s why:

  • Even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, you can still get it again. Because natural immunity varies from person to person, you can’t be sure that your body will protect you from getting COVID-19 again in the future. Studies show that if you’ve had COVID-19 before, your body might not recognize variants, or new versions of the COVID-19 virus.
  • There’s no way to predict how COVID-19 will affect you. You may know people who’ve had COVID-19 and barely felt sick at all. But even young and healthy people have gotten very sick — and the virus can cause long-term health problems, too.  

The bottom line: COVID-19 vaccines offer more protection than natural immunity. So getting vaccinated and boosted is your best chance to avoid getting very sick.

Learn more and find a COVID-19 vaccine near you at vaccines.gov.

Social Media Content to Share with Students, Faculty, and Staff

You can post this content on your campus social media accounts to help students, faculty, and staff stay healthy over spring break.

Facebook and Instagram Post #1

Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, you can still get it again. Getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself from getting very sick — or developing long-term health problems from COVID. Find a vaccine near you at vaccines.gov.

Facebook and Instagram Post #2

Even young and healthy people have gotten very sick from COVID-19 — and the virus can cause long-term health problems. So there’s no way to predict how COVID-19 will affect you. Getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself. Find a vaccine near you at vaccines.gov.

Twitter Post #1

Even if you’ve already had #COVID19, you can still get it again. Getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself from getting very sick — or developing long-term health problems from #COVID. Find a vaccine near you: vaccines.gov.

Twitter Post #2

Even young and healthy people have gotten very sick from #COVID19 — and the virus can cause long-term health problems. So there’s no way to predict how the virus will affect you. Getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself. Find a vaccine near you: vaccines.gov.

Images for Sharing

Download and share these images on your social media channels or website:

3 types of immunity
waht do we know about vaccine-based immunity?
different types of immunity
what about hybrid immunity?
what is unknown about natural immunity?
vaccination is the best protection