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Vaccinated people who had Covid may have more protection against variants

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press conference at the White House in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

People who had Covid-19 and were later vaccinated may have more protection from highly contagious variants, said White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday.

Fauci cited a study published in late April that found that people with previous coronavirus infections had better immune responses to B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, first used in the UK and the South, after a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine identified variants of Africa compared to those that did not have Covid.

He cited an additional study published online that has not yet been peer-reviewed. It found that people with previous infections who were later fortified with two doses of an mRNA vaccine had “increased protection” against variants.

The studies provide more evidence of the benefits of vaccination, Fauci said.

“Vaccines are very effective,” Fauci said during a Covid briefing at the White House. “You are better than the response you get from a natural infection.”

His comments stem from the Biden government’s drive to partially vaccinate 70% of adults in the United States and 160 million adults fully by July 4th. This is a date the government hopes will mark a turning point in the pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, the pace of people getting their first doses of vaccine has slowed, despite U.S. health officials say they’re working to improve access to the shots and encourage more reluctant Americans to get vaccinated.

Earlier Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report forecasting Covid-19 cases to rise through May before falling sharply into July as vaccinations reduce infections.

Highly contagious variants, namely the highly contagious B.1.1.7 identified for the first time in Great Britain, remain a wild card, according to US health authorities. They urge Americans to get vaccinated and take safety measures against pandemics.

“We are seeing that our current vaccines protect against the pollutants circulating in the country. Put simply, the sooner more people are vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during the press conference.

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Robert Dunfee