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Think 'natural immunity' is enough? Dr. Kurra has 3 reasons you should still get vaccinated

Dr. Shankar Kurra is the Vice President Medical Affairs at Monument Health, which serves the Black Hills area.
Arielle Zionts
Dr. Shankar Kurra is the Vice President Medical Affairs at Monument Health, which serves the Black Hills area.

The attached interview above is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

There are 28,913 people currently infected with COVID-19 in the state -- another new record for South Dakota. Doctor Shankar Kurra is the vice-president of medical affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City.

He says people should still get vaccinated, rather than rely on “natural immunity” from an infection.

“The number one reason is that you are actually putting others at risk, believe it or not, by doing the ‘natural’ way – versus when you are vaccinated your infection is milder, shorter-lived, and less likely to transmit – we can see this from the numbers.”

There are 348 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in South Dakota.

Hospitals report that most of their COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the portion of eligible South Dakotans who are fully vaccinated remains at 56 percent. Kurra says there are additional reasons that vaccines are better than natural immunity.

“The second one is that you get variants by exposing a large number of people to Omicron. That gives the virus another chance to reinvent itself,” Kurra says. “The final reason is we will continue to see ongoing spikes if we don’t vaccinate and boost. And those folks that are unvaccinated are going to pay the price.”

Information on free vaccines is available at vaccines.gov.

Data update

Note: The data presented is from the previous day — Tuesday updates include data from over the weekend (Saturday 1 pm CT - Monday 1 pm CT)

  • State’s death toll: 2,560 (+1 from the previous report)
    • Note: 'Death toll' indicates the number of deaths among people with COVID, but COVID may not have been the sole cause of death.
    • Deaths verifiably caused by COVID: 2,234 (updated weekly)
  • Active cases: 28,913 (+2,528)
  • Eligible South Dakotans fully vaccinated: 56.37% (+0.02)
  • Currently hospitalized: 348 (-1)
    • Note: Currently Hospitalized numbers include COVID-19 cases and people that are in the hospital under transmission-based precautions. The number may include out-of-state cases and people.

Advice from the CDC is to get vaccinated, and mask-up indoors if you live in a place with high or substantial coronavirus transmission. That’s everywhere in South Dakota.