URGENT: A huge Israeli study shows natural Covid immunity is far superior to the vaccine-generated kind
And getting vaccinated if you have natural immunity appears basically useless.
mRNA vaccine protection from Covid is far weaker than natural immunity and declines very fast, according to a new study of almost 6 million people in Israel.
During the summer Covid wave, more than 140,000 Israelis who had been vaccinated but not received a booster shot became infected with Covid. Put another way, in just two months, about 1 out of every 20 vaccinated Israelis became infected with Sars-Cov-2.
Natural immunity - the protection following infection and recovery - lasts much longer, the study shows.
In fact, people who had already had Covid once had better protection from the virus more than a year later than people who had been vaccinated only three months before.
The gap was even larger in cases of severe infection.
Vaccinated people were more than five times as likely to develop severe infections than people with natural immunity. Only 25 out of roughly 300,000 Israelis with natural immunity developed severe Covid infections in the summer wave - compared to almost 1,400 vaccinated Israelis.
The difference did not result from gaps in age between vaccinated and recovered people. People over 60 benefitted even more from natural immunity relative to vaccination than did younger people.
The study also showed that giving people who had natural immunity a vaccine dose did little to lower rates of infection for them, raising the question of why they should ever be vaccinated.
Finally, the study offered a disturbing signal that vaccination may ultimately interfere with the development of lasting immunity in people who are infected after being vaccinated.
A booster shot did lower the risk of infection about to the level of peak protection from natural immunity - but because the study ended in September, it is impossible to know how long that protection may last.
All these findings come out of a database of Covid infections among almost 6 million Israelis in August and September, at the peak of the fourth Covid wave in Israel. The database contains information on essentially every Israeli over age 16 who was fully vaccinated or had previously had a Covid infection.
The paper, “Protection and waning of natural and hybrid COVID-19 immunity,” is currently available as a preprint at: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.04.21267114v1.full.pdf
Oddly, the paper’s title does not mention waning of vaccine immunity, although the figures it presents make the severity of the problem clear. Such shyness is common among researchers presenting bad news about Covid vaccines - they will offer the data, but not highlight it.
Israel has exclusively used the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, began mass vaccinations before almost any other country, and has an excellent health care database. As a result, it has among the best information on the effectiveness of the shots. It offers far more complete data than the United States.
The vaccine failure over the summer in Israel - following apparent success in the spring - has presaged a similar pattern across the United States and Europe, and a similar desperate campaign for boosters.
In this paper, the researchers examined infection rates among five different groups of Israelis - those with natural immunity, those who had received boosters, those who were vaccinated but had not received boosters, those with natural immunity who had also received a vaccine, and those who had become infected after being vaccinated.
The researchers specifically excluded unvaccinated Israelis without natural immunity from the comparison because Israel has very few of them and they are “unrepresentative of the overall population.”
In other words, the researchers explicitly denied the validity of the comparison that vaccine advocates make when they compare Covid rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated people in places with high vaccination rates (a point I have been trying to make for months).
The researchers found that the highest rates of infection by far came in people who had been vaccinated at least six months before. They had a nearly 3 percent chance of being infected per month (the researchers present the figure as 89 per 100,000 “person-days.”)
Those people were four times as likely to be infected as newly vaccinated people. They were also seven times as likely to be infected as people who had natural immunity from an infection six to eight months before, and three times as likely as those who had natural immunity from an infection more than year before.
A single vaccination dose in people with natural immunity temporarily produced strong protection, the researchers found. But after six months, the advantage had faded to within the margin of statistical error. In other words, so-called hybrid immunity hardly appeared to exist after six months - natural immunity was once again providing the protection.
Nor did vaccination appear to stop severe disease.
Nearly every case of severe disease in the database - almost 1,400 of the roughly 1,600 cases - came in vaccinated but unboosted people. Boosters did appear to reduce severe disease significantly. Again, though, the study covered less than two months after the booster program began, when boosters should be at peak effectiveness.
Finally, the study showed that people who had been vaccinated and then been infected and recovered were actually more likely to be infected again six months later than those who had only “pure” natural immunity.
That finding, though based on a small number of cases, adds to worrying data that mRNA vaccination may actually wrong-foot our immune systems in the long run and make it harder to build lifelong protection against Covid.