FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - There are now more than 65 million people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the United States.
The CDC says those people have natural immunity to the virus, but only for a period of time.
Doctors say for people who recover from COVID-19, immunity to the virus can last anywhere from about three months to five years, according to the research.
Flint area doctor, Bobby Mukkamala says natural immunity doesn't last forever.
"After 90 days we should add to that immunity by using vaccination," said Mukkamala. "Those antibody levels are going to be dropping significantly and we've seen so many people get it again and again. Especially if you're at risk, have an immune system issue or are a senior, you don't want to roll the dice with that."
According to a Johns Hopkins study on natural immunity, research shows antibody levels against COVID-19 stay higher in people who were infected by the virus and then were fully vaccinated.
Mukkamala says both infection and vaccination will provide antibodies to fight severity of the illness if contracted.
"You can still test positive. The cases are a whole lot more mild, and that's what you see when you look in the hospital," said Mukkamala. "People who are ending up in the hospital, the majority of them, 75% plus. The ones ending up in the ICU or not making it out of the hospital are 90% unvaccinated."
Doctors also say natural immunity isn't a solve all, and contracting the virus, even if you do survive can come with long term health effects.
So, it's still critical to protect yourself the best you can in an attempt not to contract COVID.