Incident commander says natural immunity only lasts three months

On Friday, KGVO spoke with Missoula County Health Department Incident Commander Cindy Farr about plans to distribute a new supply of home testing kits from the state of Montana.

“We have received another allocation of test kits from the state health department and will be distributing them at our West Broadway facility,” Farr said. “You can pick them up at 3665 West Broadway. We will start distributing them on Monday. You don’t even have to get out of your car. You can just stop by and you will see the little line and where you need to go and you can pick them up during our opening hours.

Farr said home testing differs from testing administered in a clinic or healthcare facility.

“These are the rapid antigen test kits,” she said. “The difference is if you go to a clinic, usually you’re going to be tested with a PCR, (polymerase chain reaction) and who is sent to a lab for confirmation to be processed and home test kits are antigen tests. The big difference is that PCR will actually pick up a positive case very early in the disease, where those home test kits that have been distributed could take a day or two to show symptoms before the test becomes positive.

KGVO asked Farr about the theory that once a person gets COVID and recovers, they have natural immunity and don’t need to be vaccinated. She disagreed.

“We definitely encourage people to go ahead and get vaccinated, even if you’ve had COVID in the past,” she said. “Also be aware that you can get it again because basically when you get the disease you only end up developing antibodies for about three months and then after those three months, or after you recover, you’re not more protected against COVID.”

Conversely, Farr said it is vaccination that helps make antibodies.

“If you got COVID and got vaccinated, you actually have even higher immunity than people who just got vaccinated and didn’t get COVID. So if you’ve already had COVID and don’t want to worry about getting it again, come in and get vaccinated. It’s never too late. We are still running our vaccination clinic and we can help you with that and that will provide you with even more immunity.

Farr said the hours at the West Broadway location to pick up home test kits are 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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