Prior COVID Infection Provides ‘Greater’ Protection Than Vax Against Delta Variant: C.D.C. Study

“By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • People who had previously been infected with Covid-19 were better protected against the Delta variant than those who were vaccinated alone, suggesting that natural immunity was a more potent shield than vaccines against that variant, California and New York health officials for the CDC reported on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
  • The study authors said in their report that nearing the end of 2021, coronavirus infection rates we higher among the vaccinated than among those with natural immunity.
  • “By early October, persons who survived a previous [Delta] infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone,” the study authors stated.
  • The study analyzed outcomes among four groups: unvaccinated with no confirmed natural immunity, vaccinated with no confirmed natural immunity, unvaccinated with natural immunity, and vaccinated with natural immunity.
  • While the authors note that both vaccination and natural immunity both offer protection against Covid-19 and hospitalization, they nevertheless specify that “infection-derived” natural immunity offered “higher” protection from the Delta variant.
  • “Importantly, infection-derived protection was higher after the Delta variant became predominant, a time when vaccine-induced immunity for many persons declined because of immune evasion and immunologic waning,” the authors wrote.
  • Nevertheless, the study authors still concluded that vaccination “remains the safest strategy” to prevent infections, encouraging “all eligible persons should be up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.”
  • But the authors did reiterate the superiority of natural immunity over vaccination in the “Discussion” section of the study: “Importantly, infection-derived protection was greater after the highly transmissible Delta variant became predominant, coinciding with early declining of vaccine-induced immunity in many persons,” they write.
  • And yet again later they reiterate that “surviving a previous infection protected against a reinfection and related hospitalization during periods of predominantly Alpha and Delta variant transmission.”
CDC QUOTE IN CONTEXT:

“During May–November 2021, case and hospitalization rates were highest among persons who were unvaccinated without a previous diagnosis,” the CDC claims. “Before Delta became the predominant variant in June, case rates were higher among persons who survived a previous infection than persons who were vaccinated alone. By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.”

The CDC report went on to say, “These results demonstrate that vaccination protects against COVID-19 and related hospitalization, and that surviving a previous infection protects against a reinfection and related hospitalization. Importantly, infection-derived protection was higher after the Delta variant became predominant, a time when vaccine-induced immunity for many persons declined because of immune evasion and immunologic waning.”

A “SHIFT” IN CDC’S UNDERSTANDING OF NATURAL IMMUNITY:

“The understanding and epidemiology of COVID-19 has shifted substantially over time with the emergence and circulation of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, introduction of vaccines, and changing immunity as a result,” the CDC study authors also noted, adding that “recent international studies have also demonstrated increased protection in persons with previous infection, with or without vaccination, relative to vaccination alone.”

BACKGROUND:
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine offered the least protection among the vaccinated with no confirmed natural immunity group, according to the CDC study.
  • The study findings fall in line with a small cluster of studies that found unvaccinated people with a previous infection had lower risks of Covid-19 diagnosis or illness than vaccinated people who were never before infected, according to The Associated Press.
  • The new study’s findings do make sense, according to Christine Petersen, a University of Iowa epidemiologist, going on to explain that a vaccine developed against an earlier form of the coronavirus is likely to become less and less effective against newer, mutated versions.
  • The study authors suggest “Further studies are needed to establish duration of protection from previous infection by variant type, severity, and symptomatology, including for the Omicron variant.”

Jon Fleetwood is Managing Editor for American Faith and author of “An American Revival: Why American Christianity Is Failing & How to Fix It.”