COVID Infection Provides Greater Protection Against Delta Than Being Fully Vaccinated – New Study

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • A large study out of Israel has found that those who have been previously infected with COVID acquire more protection to variants than those who are fully vaccinated.

    • The study also found that those who have been previously infected, but have also had one dose, are better protected than those who have not had the shot, but have been previously infected.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has the science behind natural immunity not been included in health policy, like vaccine passports?

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We are starting to learn more about our natural immune response to COVID. That being said, health authorities around the world continue to stress that vaccination remains vital.

A 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.”

Writing about science that calls into question vaccine efficacy is risky business these days. Facebook has already removed 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added ‘warnings’ on 167 others. Wadman was not “fact-checked”, her title was accurate, but will it be the same for us here at The Pulse? We have no idea, and this is mainly because there is a huge double standard for what mainstream outlets can say vs what independent media can say. When we accurately report on something months before the mainstream does, it is considered ‘false.’ Only to become ‘true’ later on.

According to Charlotte Thålin, a physician and immunology researcher at Danderyd Hospital and the Karolinska Institute who studies the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2,

It’s a textbook example of how natural immunity is really better than vaccination… To my knowledge, it’s the first time (this) has really been shown in the context of COVID-19.”

There were some other interesting discoveries as well. The researchers also found that people who had SARS-CoV-2 previously, and received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, were more highly protected against reinfection than those who once had the virus and were still unvaccinated – but, this added protection was statistically insignificant.

Furthermore, no one in the study who got a new COVID infection died which made it impossible to compare death rates. Right now, most evidence points to the fact that the vaccines still offer a shield against serious disease and sickness, even if it’s not as good as natural immunity. Just as infection can happen in those who have been previously infected, it can also happen in those who have been vaccinated and it can still be severe. In fact, breakthrough cases in the vaccinated are much more common than re-infection cases in the COVID recovered.

It’s also important to mention that there are studies being published claiming the opposite of this one of of Israel, that unvaccinated people are much are more likely to get reinfected. Unvaccinated people, according to a recent CDC study are about 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.

Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington, Seattle admitted that the study shows the benefits of natural immunity but also points out that COVID-19 has already killed more than 4 million people, with deadlier variants that are making their way into the population. She states that the study fails to acknowledge what the body has to do to get there (natural immunity), but other research has also pointed out that even a mild COVID infection can provide immunity that may last a lifetime.

Some would also argue that not all deaths that have been classified as COVID have been a result of COVID. For example, it’s now been documented that COVID deaths were over-counted in countries with intensive testing and high sensitization and/or incentives for COVID diagnoses. Here’s an informative article written by Dr. Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford University, regarding excess deaths in England. The power of natural immunity, a nearly 100 percent survival rate for people under the age of 60 inferred from multiple inferred from seroprevalence studies, and several other reasons continue to be key reasons cited by those who people remain vaccine hesitant and lockdown opposed.

The number of people who have died, the strain the pandemic has put on hospitals and ICU’s around the globe, and the danger the virus poses to those who are vulnerable, like the elderly, are all reasons as to why many people support vaccines.

My personal opinion is a focused protection approach without any mandates but encouragement instead. instead encouragement. Lockdowns may have already killed more people than COVID and have not been without consequence. Evidence calling into question measures taken by multiple governments has been heavily censored. Why?

With all of this being said, why has health policy, like vaccine passports for example, failed to address and acknowledge the science of natural immunity? According to Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard Medical Professor, “Prior COVID disease (many working class) provides better immunity than vaccines (many professionals), so vaccine mandates are not only scientific nonsense, they are also discriminatory and unethical.”

For many infectious diseases, naturally acquired immunity is known to be more powerful than vaccine-induced immunity and it often lasts a lifetime. Other coronaviruses that cause the serious human diseases severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome trigger robust and persistent immune responses. At the same time, several other human coronaviruses, which usually cause little more than colds, are known to reinfect people regularly.

Wadman.

Update: Aug 30, 2021, 1:00PM, the Science article’s title has been updated to include “but vaccination remains vital”

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