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COVID-19 vaccine: Do I still get it even if I've had the virus?

Millions of people in Florida have tested positive for the coronavirus, but should they still get vaccinated?

TAMPA, Fla. — More than a million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida and more than 20 million have contracted the virus in the United States.

As that number climbs post-holiday, the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed across the country.

Healthcare workers, seniors, first responders and other essential workers are first in line for the vaccine. Doses should be available to the general public by the spring of 2021.

As it gets closer to becoming more widely available, a lot of people have questions about the vaccine.

Should I get it even if I've tested positive for COVID-19?

Yes. The Centers for Disease Control says people should still get vaccinated after they've recovered from the virus. Doctors are unsure how long natural immunity, or how long you're protected after contracting the virus, so the vaccine will help protect you after that. 

How long am I protected after vaccination?

That's a question that is not completely clear.

Those taking part in Phase 3 clinical trials and the first folks to get vaccinated may eventually be able to provide the answer to that question, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would be surprised if the vaccine gave life-long immunity like the measles vaccine.

Moncef Slaoui, head of the US vaccine development effort said he believes the effectiveness could last for "many, many years," with older people and others who are more vulnerable requiring a booster shot every three to five years.

How effective are the vaccines?

Out of the two vaccines that are currently being put into circulation -- according to Pfizer, its vaccine is 94.5% effective in clinical trials. Moderna says its vaccine is 95% effective.

Another vaccine that may be approved down the road, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is said to be about 70% effective.

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