COVID-19 vaccine questions answered: Do I need it?


VA is listening to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. This blog series answers questions from Veterans.

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to receive the vaccine?

Yes, you still need to receive the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 re-infection is possible. You should receive the COVID-19 vaccine even if you had an infection previously. The immunity that someone gains from having an infection like COVID-19 is known as natural immunity.

This natural immunity varies from person to person. For some, it may not last long at all. Experts are still studying natural immunity for COVID-19, but because re-infection may be possible, you still need to receive the vaccine for greater protection.

I’m not in a high-risk population and the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low. Do I still need to receive the vaccine?

Yes, you still need to receive the vaccine. The CDC also reports that even though many people with a COVID-19 infection only have a mild illness, some people become very sick from COVID-19.  Even for those without an increased risk, your symptoms may be severe or long-lasting.

In extreme cases, you could even die. You still need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure you are protected from severe illness from COVID-19.

With so many people infected around the country, everyone should be immune soon. Do I need to receive the vaccine?

Yes, you still need to receive the vaccine. In addition to your personal risk of becoming sick from COVID-19, experts do not yet know at what point “herd immunity” will be achieved. Herd immunity happens when a large part of a population is immune to a disease which makes it much harder for that disease to spread. It can even protect those who cannot be vaccinated, like babies.

The amount of people necessary to achieve herd immunity is different for every disease. Scientists are working to determine how many people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. If most people choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it will help us reach herd immunity and end the COVID-19 pandemic.

VA Program Information

Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distance from others.

To learn more, you can review CDC information about COVID-19 and vaccination.



VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at


  1. William H. Messmann    

    As a Vietnam veteran How do I schedule the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?

    1. Gary Crittenden    

      You say in this article that “This natural immunity varies from person to person. For some, it may not last long at all. “Tell me if you can, how long am I protected for if I take the shot?

  2. Clayton Sharrard    

    Detroit VA Turned down my care giver. I’m 90%. Medically retired and disabled. The patient advocate Paul Miller not only got very confrontational with my Mother and Myself, threatened us, but also kicked us out of his office. How shameful these people are. If anyone has experienced these same issues please let your state senators no what’s going on. I recorded every conversation I had with them as well

  3. Robert Ridgway    

    I’m a Vietnam vet, had COVID-19 in October, extremely mild case, no issues until early December. Severe brain fog and fatigue. That is now going away but now attacking joints, knees today, yesterday hips (back is fine). Dry eye is constant weeping. Had antibodies tested 12/15/2020 and result was 99.81%. I was told by one doctor not to get the shot. I’m questioning next step. I am going in shortly to be tested again as I want to donate plasma. Advise please

  4. Nick Duca    

    I am a 73 yr. old Marine/ Viet Nam vet. I am fully vaccinated and doing very well. I can’t believe some of the nonsense garbage that is being said about the vaccine. It is safe, it does protect you and doesn’t turn you into little green men!! Guy’s follow the science and not lies that some people put out there. Do your part so we can get back to normal in this country before it’s to late for us to enjoy it!!

  5. LarryGray    

    So far there have been excellent questions which I hope everyone gets answered. I personally have listened to so many explanations of the science involved in the immunization protection from COVID-19, and watched shows such as Dr. Oz when he featured black doctors and other black representatives in the community. Various black men and women from the community who were serious skeptics had excellent questions that were answered. I came to the conclusion everyone can benefit from COVID-19 vaccinations, and it is clear to me that when we have close to 80% of people vaccinated, we will have herd immunity. My wife is a Veteran still under 65 and waiting for an appointment to be able to be vaccinated, whereas I benefited in being able to get vaccinated for being over 65, already. She called our local area VA clinic and she must call back again until appointments can be taken, Apparently they get only so many doses of the vaccines from the nearest VA hospital at Ft. Miley (San Francisco). She also would like to get the one dose Johnson & Johnson, but I am encouraging to get what she can get as I am anxious for both of us to be way better off then without being vaccinated.

  6. RODNY    

    Nothing will make me take any of these vaccines, I’m an African American, and I strongly believe this so-called vaccine is there not to healed people, but to kill us just like what happened between 1932 and 1972. The U.S government offered free healthcare to rural back people and intentionally injected them with syphilis; now they’re bringing us covid-19 and put it on China then come with vaccines to kill us more. Why Bill Gate didn’t take the vaccine? It will not go inside of me

  7. Frederic William Baldwin    

    I believe I am immune,due to receiving Hydroxychloriquin during my time in Viet Nam.
    Is there a test to find if one is immune? Can I choose the J&J one shot if I hafta get it?

  8. Robert L Dilworth    

    I received the two Pfizer vaccines on 17 Feb and 11 Mar from the Okaloosa County Department Of Health. What do I need to do to have it entered into my V.A. Health Records.
    Robert L. S. Dilworth

  9. Jerome R Gudex    

    Why does the VA keep calling me for a vaccine when I told them 3 times I don’t want it? If I don’t receive it can they revoke my disability?

  10. David Rosenfeld    

    I’m a veteran working in Taiwan for 6 months. Can I get the vaccine in Taiwan? Are there any places that support US veterans in Taiwan?

    1. Dana 'Doc' Pellerin    

      The United States operates a de facto embassy in Taipei called the American Institute in Taiwan. If you go to their website, and select ‘U.S. Citizen Services’, then select ‘COVID19 Information’ you will find your answers there. In short, the US does not offer any immunizations in Taiwan. You will have to look to the Taiwan CDC to find better answers. Hope this helps! Doc

  11. Edward Vela    

    When am I going to be called for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot? Age 75 1/2

  12. Steve turner    

    Do I have a choice of vaccines. J&J seems preferable to others and only one shot

  13. JAFO    

    I had COVID and was confined at home from Feb 4 through Feb 20. When should I get retested for existing antibodies?

    1. AR    

      I had COIVD back in August and have been donating platelets for convalescent plasma at the Red Cross about every 6 weeks. Each time they test for antibodies and let you whether you still have them or not. So far I still have them. Donating is a good way to help others in need and keep tabs on your antibodies at the same time.

  14. John Leszar    

    I would like the J&J vaccine. Will the VA provide that. If not, why not?

  15. Dorinda K Kohlun    

    My son is a caregiver for his father who is a retired Military disabled vet, enrolled in the VA health care system, but not compensible enough to qualify for the VA caregivers program. Can he get the vaccination as a care giver, according to your paragraph below on prioritizing veterans? He falls into category 1.

    VA must prioritize the vaccination of (1) Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system, (2) Veterans who fail to enroll but receive hospital care and medical services for specified disabilities in their first 12 months of separation from service, and (3) caregivers accompanying such prioritized Veterans. Additionally, vaccines furnished abroad are authorized to be furnished in a geographic location other than a state regardless of whether vaccines are needed for the treatment of Veterans with a service-connected disability. This includes those participating in a VA rehabilitation program.

  16. Joyce Crocker    

    I had a severe reaction to #1 Pfizer and was told not to get the second. Recommendation was J&J Dr said no. Will I be considered vaccinated for travel purposes? will exceptions be made?

  17. Julie Langerveld    

    Why weren’t Veterans who are retired or ineligible for VA healthcare not included in the plan?

  18. Alice Toner    

    Why is it so hard for disabled Veterans to get extra assistance on Saturday’s, especially the ones that have issues walking!

  19. FUBAR1947    

    Am I immune after I have the Covid vaccination?
    What is the “science” to support the claim of immunity?

    1. Mehr    

      Am I immune after I have the Covid vaccination? likely yes
      What is the “science” to support the claim of immunity? your Antibody level .

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