The benefits of natural immunity should be a bigger part of the COVID story.

A new study (which appears to be out of Israel) confirms that natural immunity to the Delta variant of COVID-19 is even better than vaccine-driven immunity.  Breakthrough infections are 13 times more likely with a vaccine, versus a recent infection.  The number goes down only to 6 times for infections from longer ago.

This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.

If I’m reading the abstract correctly, when it’s fresh, the vaccine is not quite as good, but almost, when it comes to preventing symptoms, but 7 times worse over time.

That, as they say, is the science.

Perhaps the public health establishment and news media have been downplaying such findings because they fear people who are reluctant to be vaccinated will conclude they’re better off taking their chances and even getting the disease.  Frankly, many of them may not be wrong about that, but it isn’t the most salient point.

Rather, knowing this information ought to inform our public approach to addressing the pandemic.  If the goal really is to keep massive outbreaks at bay, then proof of natural immunity ought to be as good as or better than proof of vaccination for all purposes.  Otherwise, the impression is that our rulers are more concerned about controlling people than finding the best balance of public health, civil rights, and economic and social stability.


Featured image by the CDC on Unsplash.

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