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