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Florida Governor Makes Misleading Claim About COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunity

Fact check by MeiLan Han, MD, U of Michigan and the American Thoracic Society, American Thoracic Society (ATS)

Published on September 14, 2021

In a claim, published by Fox News on September 13, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, “COVID-19 infection confers immunity so vaccine mandates unnecessary.”

In response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ claim, pulmonologist Dr. MeiLan Han says “Though infection does provide some protection against future protection, it’s not as strong as that provided by vaccination.”

DeSantis ignores the fact that reinfections do happen among unvaccinated individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. And his comment contradicts the recommendation of health experts who say that the vaccines offer greater protection from reinfection than any immunity developed from a previous COVID-19 infection. People who have had COVID-19 are known to develop some immunity, but experts don’t know how long that immunity lasts. A small proportion of people who had an infection may not develop much immunity at all.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that people still get vaccinated regardless of whether they already had COVID-19, because it’s not known how long someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again after recovering from the disease.

Newsroom Editor