Natural immunity provides better protection against COVID-19 than Pfizer vaccine, Israeli study confirms
A new Israeli study has confirmed that natural immunity from a previous Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infection can offer more protection
than getting two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
The study was conducted by a team of Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University
and Maccabi Healthcare Services. It was done long after the post-vaccine delta variant of COVID-19 became the dominant coronavirus strain in Israel and had begun wreaking havoc in one of the world's most vaccinated nations.
Fully vaccinated people several times more likely to get COVID-19
For this study, the researchers looked at more than 800,000 people, some of whom had received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and never had coronavirus and others who were unvaccinated people who had recovered from previous COVID-19 infections. (Related: GREAT NEWS: Natural immunity to coronavirus is comprehensive and DURABLE – study
The researchers found that fully vaccinated people were several times more likely to experience a breakthrough COVID-19 infection than people with natural immunity to the coronavirus.
According to the study, fully vaccinated individuals who had no prior exposure to the coronavirus were 5.96 times more likely
to get infected with the delta variant compared to those with natural immunity. They were also 7.13 times more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms include coughing, developing a fever and experiencing shortness of breath.
After three months, this risk in fully vaccinated individuals increases. They become 13.06 times more likely to get infected, and 27.02 times more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms.
"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 [Pfizer-BioNTech] two-dose vaccine-induced immunity," read the study.
The study authors stated that their research is the largest real-world observational study that compared the immunity supposedly given by the COVID-19 vaccines
with natural immunity gained from previous coronavirus infections.
"Our large cohort, enabled by Israel's rapid rollout of the mass vaccination campaign, allowed us to investigate the risk for additional infection – either a breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals or reinfection in previously infected ones – over a longer period than thus far described."
The Israeli researchers admitted that their study has some limitations. Firstly, they only looked at the lack of effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. More studies have to be conducted to analyze natural immunity when compared with people who take other COVID-19 vaccines.
Secondly, while the researchers controlled for factors such as age, sex and region of residence, there may be differences in how often these groups follow pandemic protocols instituted by public health authorities. These include wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Despite these limitations, the study could have serious effects on COVID-19 policy if so-called public health experts are willing to listen to the science.
Scientists laud Israeli study for confirming power of natural immunity
Multiple noted scientists have already come out to support the findings of the Israeli study.
"It's a textbook example of how natural immunity is really better than vaccination," said Dr. Charlotte Thalin, a physician and immunology researcher for the Karolinska Institute
and the Danderyd Hospital in Sweden. "To my knowledge, it's the first time [this] has really been shown in the context of COVID-19."
"The study demonstrates the power of the human immune system
," wrote journalist Meredith Wadman, writing for Science Magazine
. But she also cautioned unvaccinated people against intentionally seeking to get infected and said that people should still get vaccinated.
"We continue to underestimate the importance of natural infection immunity … especially when [infection] is recent," wrote Dr. Eric Topol, a physician and scientist working for Scripps Research.
Ross Clark, a columnist for British magazine Spectator
, believes that this study proves mandating COVID-19 vaccines for children is unnecessary
"We might be wasting our time trying to foist jabs on the young when they may have gained better, stronger immunity to Covid through natural infection," Clark wrote. "Perhaps it is better to simply allow them to be infected on the grounds they're highly unlikely to come to serious harm but are more likely to gain lasting immunity from the disease that way."
Learn more about how natural immunity is better than the supposed immunity acquired through getting vaccinated by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news