[COVIDWatch]: Is natural immunity better than vaccine-induced immunity?

By November 3, 2021 COVID-19, Health, Vaccine

We came across this post on ex-presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian’s Facebook page:

According to the article, an epidemiology professor from Yale University describes the Singaporean population as having very low levels of natural immunity to the virus due to a lack of people being infected by COVID-19. While 83% of the population have been fully vaccinated, the professor posits that immunity offered by the vaccines offers a short term solution, lasting only 3-6 months, which is what has led to the sudden surge in infections occurring in Singapore.

When we did a search on the difference between natural or herd immunity and vaccine-induced immunity, we found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently published a paper on the 29th of October investigating this issue. According to the paper, “Available evidence shows that fully vaccinated individuals and those previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 each have a low risk of subsequent infection for at least 6 months”. Additionally, the report describes the efficacy of vaccine-induced immunity as more consistent in their protection both in terms of antibody production and the durability of the immunity offered.

In addition to the CDC report, we found two other reports that question the feasibility of adopting a natural herd immunity strategy to combat COVID-19, one from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore and the other from the British Society for Immunology. According to both reports, while natural immunity does in fact grant protection against COVID-19, the effectiveness of this immunity varies greatly between people, with some people being immune for just 35 days and others having natural immunity for up to four decades.

Should one contract COVID-19 however, being vaccinated significantly reduces the risk of severe symptoms arising from COVID-19 infection. A separate study from the CDC found that unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die from the disease compared to their vaccinated counterparts. It is important then to get vaccinated against COVID-19 even taking into consideration the benefits of natural immunity, with the inoculations providing powerful protection against the virus.

Therefore, due to the significant variance of length of protection for people who have recovered from COVID-19, natural immunity is not conclusively better than vaccine-induced immunity. People who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are still encouraged to get vaccinated when possible in order to have effective and long-lasting immunity from the disease. The claim that natural immunity lasts longer and is better than vaccine-induced immunity is thus likely false.

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