Natural infection versus Vaccination
Commenter and blogger, Prof. Joel Eissenberg, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
In the unceasing effort by the Right to politicize and weaponize the COVID-19 pandemic, some politicians have seized on a recent paper from Israel claiming that natural infection provides better protection than two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Setting aside the orders of magnitude difference between COVID-19 deaths in unvaccinated vs vaccinated patients, which render the argument for infection-based herd immunity risible, there are two technical comments to be made:
1. In the Israeli study, the higher hospitalization rate in the 32,000-person analysis was based on just eight hospitalizations in a vaccinated group and one in a previously infected group. And the 13-fold increased risk of infection in the same analysis was based on just 238 infections in the vaccinated population, less than 1.5% of the more than 16,000 people, versus 19 reinfections among a similar number of people who once had SARS-CoV-2. Sorry, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and these numbers fall short of dispositive.
2. The real argument to be made here for an additional booster of vaccinated persons and not for natural herd immunity:
Michael Nussenzweig: A booster with the currently available mRNA vaccine would be expected to engage memory cells to produce circulating antibodies that are strongly protective against the original virus and somewhat less so against the variants.
When to administer the booster depends on the object of boosting. If the goal is to prevent infection, then boosting will need to be done after 6 to 18 months depending on the immune status of the individual. If the goal is to prevent serious disease boosting may not be necessary for years.””The Rockefeller University » Natural infection versus vaccination: Differences in COVID antibody responses emerge,, Senior Physician, Michel C. Nussenzweig,
The Rockefeller University » Natural infection versus vaccination: Differences in COVID antibody responses emerge, Senior Physician, Michel C. Nussenzweig, Senior Physician, The Rockfeller University
Run, How about comparing the number of deaths that occur in vaccinating 1 million people versus the number of deaths required to obtain 1 million people with natural immunity?
That’s a reasonable comparison if the premise is that not dying is the accepted principle goal of these actions. I’m pretty sure it isn’t though among a large segment of people who have vaccines available and don’t use them. Much of it is risk tolerance related and that gets impacted by factors like age and overall health. Many want to live without mRNA (particularly) in them and have accepted an increase of COVID death risk to get that. This is a reason I am a bit confused that public health officials have not pushed J&J harder. Yes, Pfizer and Moderna might be unhappy with a campaign to inform folks they can avoid mRNA, but if you want higher uptakes, there really is a sizable group out there with their heels dug in on mRNA that don’t realize it is not the technology for all the “jabs”. I do not hold any financial interest in J&J, nor do any family members.
I have not seen a distinct source for these numbers. I have not seen a source for people dying from vaccinations. I have not seen a source for people with natural immunity to Covid (not gained by vaccines) and if such did exist, I am sure they would be drawing blood looking for the antibodies.
Comorbidities seems to be a fall back for those who reject Covid as being a danger. It is always the comorbidity which caused the death rather than creating a weakness to succumbing to Covid. Covid was never the cause which pushed them over the edge. Many would still be alive and living even though inflicted with other defects and illness.
Rejecting vaccines, rejecting social distancing, rejecting face masks, and rejecting the limitation of outside activities in crowds appears to be of their nature. Sturgis activities appears to have caused an increase. If they survive they may suffer from other health issues or aggravated health issue as a result of contracting Covid which they did do to themselves by unsafe practices.
There have been stories of people asking for the vaccine as they were dying and stories of those who absolutely reject Covid as the cause in the end if awake.
I do not have an answer for this practice of liberty other than practice it outside of my area as it endangers my liberty to a safe environment.
If I see the numbers I believe are realistic, I will present such.
All of the proteins in our bodies are encoded by mRNAs. Our cells are filled with mRNA. There is nothing foreign about “mRNA.”
If the concern is SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mRNA, which is the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are, well both the J&J and AstraZenica vaccines also produce SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mRNA in injected individuals. In addition, the J&J and AstraZenica vaccines are actually recombinant adenovirus, so anyone getting these vaccines is getting virus in addition to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mRNA. There have been some rare problems with thrombosis associated with the J&J and AstraZenica vaccines that have not been reported with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. These may be due to the viral vector or to the way the mRNA is expressed in these vaccines (abnormal mRNA splice products).
Bottom line is that getting the J&J or AstraZenica vaccines still means you’re getting the mRNA.
What I’ve read says that getting COVID and recovering is about as good as getting a single hit of mRNA vaccine, and the protection lasts about as well. If they get an mRNA vaccine booster after being infected, they are as well covered as if they had gotten two shots of mRNA vaccine.
Also, the level of neutralizing antibodies after a COVID infection seems dependent on the viral load which is correlated with the severity of the disease. In general, people with mild infections will have less protection than those who have a more severe case.
The “herd immunity” strategy seems to rely on people getting a series of COVID infections and hoping, somehow, that after enough rounds of infection and re-infection everyone who manages to survive will miraculously get infected all at once and eliminate COVID once and for all. I get the impression that a lot of people are relying on the fact that, so far at least, no one who has failed to recover from COVID has ever been re-infected.
problem for me: I am not an expert.
i believe joel et al know more than i do.
but their reasoning seems fo me to be full of dangerous leaps, and their bias is evident in the kind of language they use.
none of this really matters, unless they use what they think they know as an excuse to force people to get vaccinated. By “force” i do not mean exclusion from places where people consider them a risk to their own safety.
and mostly, you are not going to reach anyone not already convinced, by “scientific” reasoning: anti-vaxxers are almost entirely (note the almost,,, it is as dangerous a word when i use it as it is when scienterrifics dismiss a “few” cases as irrelevant)…almost all anti-vaxxers don’t understand and don’t care about “scientific” arguments. They believe what they are told by their favorite pundits and politicians on TV
and, for what it’s worth, i believe all the anti-maskers, and social non-distancers are insane and criminally negligent of other people’s welfare and legitimate feelings.
and, like all people..except the real experts…i believe what i believe based on bits and pieces i pick up here and there, rejecting some as preposterous, and that leaves me unconvinced that “the science” really points convincingly to the conclusions the people i mostly agree with want me to reach.
please note this is not an argument about science: it is an argument about argument.