What provides better protection from COVID? A natural infection or a mRNA vaccine?
The scientists appear to have resolved that question with yet another recent study, this one published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report found (as have others) that vaccination provides stronger and more reliable protection against COVID (the coronavirus) than a past infection does. In fact, the 7,000-person study found that unvaccinated individuals recently infected with the virus had a five times greater likelihood of contracting the illness than those who had been fully immunized with a COVID mRNA vaccine – specifically the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“We now have additional evidence that reaffirms the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, even if you have had prior infection,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said in a statement. She added, “This study adds more to the body of knowledge demonstrating the protection of vaccines against severe disease from COVID-19.” Walensky emphasized, “The best way to stop COVID-19, including the emergence of variants, is with widespread COVID-19 vaccination.”
Previous data showed that people who were unvaccinated and had a previous COVID infection were over two times more likely to be reinfected compared with those who had received a COVID vaccine after being infected with COVID.
This study focused on hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and may not be applicable to those who aren’t hospitalized. It’s really important to understand what happens to those who are not hospitalized and how they fare with reinfections. Does infection confer protection against future hospitalization, and how does that compare against the unvaccinated and vaccinated?
Nevertheless, it’s becoming clear that those with prior infection would benefit from just a single dose of vaccination to shore up whatever immunity they have acquired naturally. U.S. guidance should reflect the fact that a single dose may be sufficient for those with prior infection. Failure to make more precision-guided recommendations based on prior infection status (in favor of one-size-fits-all broad recommendations) fuels vaccine hesitancy.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.