COVID Vaccines VS. Natural Immunity: What The Science Says So Far

Image: Andrii Vodolazhskyi via Shutterstock

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Data is limited, but there is some suggesting COVID vaccine protection wanes after six months.

    • The vaccine does seem to be fairly effective at reducing case severity.

    • Multiple studies have shown that the type of protection natural immunity can provide may last a lifetime, but we don't know for sure.

    • Regardless, this conversation is not being had in mainstream dialogue.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does health policy, like vaccine passports, fail to even acknowledge the possibility of any type of natural immunity from a COVID infection?

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It’s hard to make any conclusions about COVID vaccines and natural immunity given the fact that there is no long term data available at the moment.

In last week’s Setty Report, Dr. Madhava Setty explored data from the Israeli government which currently suggests that, the vaccine is fairly effective in reducing severe disease but that effect diminishes over a period of about 6 months.

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These same conclusions were echoed by The New York Times as well, and with the CDC suggesting the vaccinated are infectious when they get the virus and need to wear a mask still, what then is the benefit of getting vaccinated other than to reduce case severity?

This is an important question as now this truly comes down to personal risk/benefit analysis. Of course the case is being made that the unvaccinated are ‘variant factories,’ and thus vaccines are being pushed. But there is a lot of discussion amongst scientists that suggest it’s quite possible time will show that vaccines can cause variants as well.

In essence we are hearing, asymptomatic people, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, can spread this virus, therefore we need masks. When will it stop?

Vaccine effectiveness waning is fairly a common phenomenon for some vaccines. For example, in 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study on waning immunity after two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The results, published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, show:

  • About 35% of vaccinated 7-year-olds are susceptible to subclinical infection with measles virus.
  • About 60% of vaccinated 15-year-olds are susceptible to subclinical infection with measles virus.
  • By age 24–26, a projected 33% of vaccinated adults are susceptible to clinical infection.

Consequently, nearly 50% of schoolchildren and most adults vaccinated with the MMR vaccine can still be infected with measles virus and spread it to others, even with mild or no symptoms of their own. So as to not strike up fear, these viruses are not serious and have incredibly low death rates.

Early on in the pandemic, a study  published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions” explained,

A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

As a result they recommended other treatments and promoted a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition to help combat COVID.

The general point here is, it’s quite clear that some vaccines aren’t as effective as they are marketed to be, and we’re seeing this now as they reach the mass population

When it comes to COVID, a common theme regarding the vaccines is the prospect of booster shots after being fully vaccinated. Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, the company that developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer, told CNBC that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine. She also believes people will need one every year.

It seems COVID shots will become a yearly offering, much like the seasonal flu shot.

What does the data say about natural immunity?

With natural immunity we are in the same boat as the COVID vaccines, there isn’t enough data, but there is some – and it’s promising but perhaps not addressed well enough in mainstream dialogue which should raise some questions.

For example, an article written by Dr. Tamara Bhadari, a senior science writer from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, recently published an article explaining that even a mild COVID-19 infection induces lasting antibody protection that can last a lifetime.

Other coronaviruses may provide clues as well. People who have been infected with SARS, for example, still have a strong a level of antibodies approximately 17 years after being infected.

new study (still in pre print form) conducted in Israel, one of the most highly COVID-19 vaccinated countries in the world, examined the medical records of tens of thousands of Israelis between the first of June and the 14th of August.

During this time the Delta variant was the predominant strain infecting people in Israel. The researchers looked at infections, symptoms, and hospitalizations, and is to date the largest real-world observational study to compare natural versus vaccine-induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers used the database of Maccabi Healthcare Services. In two analyses they found that people who have never been infected before, but who were vaccinated, were six to thirteen times more likely to get infected than unvaccinated people who were previously infected.

In one analysis that compared more than 32,000 people, they found that the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 was 27 times higher among the vaccinated, and the risk of hospitalization eight times higher.

I’ve previously published an article summarizing the science that has been published throughout this pandemic regarding natural immunity. You can access that here and the science presented compliments this new study out of Israel.

The natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine… The newly released data show people who once had a SARS-CoV-2 infection were much less likely than never-infected, vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19.

Meredith Wadman, M.D., Staff Writer for Science

In her article published in Science, Dr. Meredith Wadman uses the title, “Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital.”

An analysis of millions of coronavirus test results in Denmark found that people who had prior infection, were still protected 6 months after the initial infection. Another study also found that individuals who recovered from the coronavirus developed “robust” levels of B cells and T cells (necessary for fighting off the virus) and “these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time.”

A study published in March 2021 suggests that the majority of healthy adults in British Columbia, Canada, have immunity from COVID-19 despite the fact that some of them have never been infected with it. This is one of multiple studies suggesting that infection from previous coronaviruses, like the common “flu” for example, may provide some protection from variants.

The truth is, many scientists have expressed that immunity gained from natural infection is quite robust. Multiple studies have been published expressing this sentiment, yet health policies and mandates like vaccine passes are being put in place that don’t reflect this.

Furthermore, natural infection is provided by more than just antibodies. If you want to dive deeper into the science that has emerged regarding natural infection, you can do so in an article I previously published here that goes into more detail.

What raised many questions for me is the fact that the mainstream media and government have failed to be forthcoming about these conversations, and have actively worked to censor or cast doubt on any inquiry around this. Natural immunity, according to the mainstream narrative, simply does not offer any adequate protection or immunity compared to the vaccine, but as mentioned above there is a lot of information contradicting that narrative.

It’s also important to mention here that if somebody “tests” positive for COVID, it doesn’t mean they are infectious. In a letter to the editor published in the Journal of Infection, researchers explain that more than half of all “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not even infectious. You can read more about that and PCR testing, here.

If you are feeling overwhelmed in this information driven time, you’re not alone. It’s hard to weed through the many different perspectives, and even if we have gut feelings about what might be going on, it can be difficult to find evidence or prove, making it hard to communicate as a wider community.

It would be nice to see discussions happening publicly amongst experts, instead of certain topics being completely unacknowledged, like natural immunity.

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