CDC: 97% of Americans have some COVID-19 immunity

Doctors warn vaccination is still important to protect ourselves and those who are more vulnerable
Vaccinations are still encouraged to deal with new strains and protect the people around us
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 7:20 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 9:15 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - COVID-19 infections have started to rise again across the United States, but there is good news.

While COVID-19 is still more dangerous than the flu and pneumonia -- the coronavirus is still one of the top five leading causes of death -- experts say it’s less risky to catch it than it used to be.

That’s partly because the virus has changed our immunity.

When the pandemic started, COVID-19 was a novel virus -- we had no natural immunity to it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screened blood samples and estimates 97% of Americans now have some degree of immunity through vaccination, infection, or both.

That means our immune systems, as long as they’re healthy and working as they should, will recognize most forms of the coronavirus when it comes our way again.

However, doctors and the CDC say this doesn’t mean we can treat coronavirus casually, and getting vaccinated is still important. It’s still a deadly disease, and healthy people can unwittingly spread it to vulnerable members of their family and community.

That said, CDC Director Mandy Cohen says most people will be better off waiting a few weeks to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. A new formula rolls out next month targeting the latest omicron strain. If you get a vaccine now, it could delay your chance at getting the new booster since the vaccinations need to be spaced out.