WASHINGTON, D.C. – The potential “natural immunity” that may be bestowed upon individuals after recovering from a COVID-19 infection may yield more benefits over time than vaccination, according to a recent study out of Israel.
Israeli researchers went through information from the country’s health database from the periods of August to September, and examined the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is the most widely-used in the country.
The researchers said that their findings indicate that, overall, individuals who had been infected with COVID-19 and recovered successfully tended to display fewer instances of re-infection and less severe instances of re-infections when compared to individuals who had been vaccinated against the virus.
For example, of those with natural immunity only 10.5 out of 100,000 were re-infected in a time span of four to six months following their original infection; this rate dropped to 69.2 for those who had taken the jab.
When it comes to cases that would be considered “severe,” vaccinated individuals made up 0.9 percent of that number, whereas those with natural immunity only accounted for 0.5 percent of cases.
However, the protection from COVID-19 afforded to both vaccinated and recovered individuals waned over time, researchers found, although the drop was more pronounced among those who had been inoculated.
The study also examined the re-infection rate among those who had recovered from a COVID-19 infection and subsequently received a vaccine, as opposed to those who did not; those with natural immunity who had also been inoculated displayed the lowest re-infection rates of all.
The findings of the Israeli study seem to fall in line with a previous Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that indicated that natural immunity from prior COVID-19 infection could be very effective, but that effectiveness could be greatly increased if the patient was vaccinated as well.
In addition, some experts say the acquired immunity provided by vaccines can be safer in some ways, since vaccines don’t require you to catch the virus – and risk serious long-term health issues that can still plague you after you recover – before becoming effective, especially if you have underlying health issues.
Immunity – both via recovery from a prior infection or inoculation – can be determined, experts say, by measuring the amount of antibodies in a subject, as well as T cells and B cells. Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor at the University of Southern California, noted that those antibodies in both the recovered and vaccinated diminish over time – opening up subjects to potential re-infection – but nonetheless still provide strong protection against “severe” cases of COVID-19 and death.
In September, 2021, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was unable to give an definitive answer during an interview as to why people who have recovered from COVID-19 should be vaccinated when another Israeli study found that “natural immunity” from a previous infection could yield stronger immunity against the virus than currently-available vaccines.