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Natural Immunity Trumps Vaccine only Immunity and Hybrid (Vaccine + Infection)
The latest evidence supports the superiority of natural infection. There is no medical reason to vaccinate (or boost) persons who have had and have recovered from natural covid-19 infection.
Conventional wisdom has always held that a natural infection, recovered from, will provide lasting immunity against that same infection. This is logical because a natural infection recruits all parts of the immune system again all components of the invader.
For rapidly changing organisms such as flu and adenovirus, previous infections are known to provide cross protection against new strains, partial but still beneficial immunity for prevention of serious illness. This should also have been applicable to covid-19!
Conventional wisdom, however, has been exiled with covid-19; Government Health Agencies worldwide have been insisting that natural immunity doesn’t count (and silencing anyone who dared to disagree) and that vaccines (and boosters) should be given irrespective of prior history of natural infection.
Here in the Philippines, unlike Australia where a natural infection will get you a 4-month “vaccine exemption”, people have been encouraged to take a covid-19 vaccine just as soon as they recover from covid-19 illness in order to gain “hybrid immunity.
Is hybrid immunity (immunity post combined illness and vaccine) better than naturally acquired immunity? A new study from the Lancet, uses data from the UK to answer just that!
Here is the interpretation from the study.
In layman terms here is my summary:-
Omicron is milder than delta though more infectious.
The vaccine has reduced efficacy against omicron.
Omicron causes less severe illness particularly in unvaccinated individuals (less hospitalization and death).
Past infection gave some protection against death only in the vaccinated (no benefit for reduced hospitalization) (ie. vaccinated persons who caught omicron were sicker than unvaccinated persons who caught omicron).
Hybrid immunity is NOT better than natural immunity.
If you have had Delta (or one of the earlier variants) you are already at least partially protected from omicron, which is mild, and better off than those who are vaccinated only and /or vaccinated and natural infection.
If you have already had omicron then you are of course protected from omicron (and the legacy variants), and you probably have decent protection for severe outcomes against upcoming variants. (Note that BA1 is not the same as BA2, and while one is protective against severe illness from the other there is increasing evidence that it is possible to get both).
The current vaccines are becoming less and less effective as variants move further from the legacy strain. The benefits may not outweigh the risks.
This is evidence that there is no medical reason to vaccinate anyone who has had a natural covid-19 infection!