Natural Immunity Offered More Protection Against Omicron Than 3 Vaccine Doses, New England Journal of Medicine Study Finds

Importantly, the Cornell University-funded study found that both natural immunity and vaccines offer “strong and durable protection” against Covid-related hospitalization and death.

By Jon Miltimore Published on July 19, 2022

News reports say the Biden administration is currently weighing a plan that would allow all adults to receive a second Covid-19 booster, citing concerns from White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci about the spike in hospitalizations “fueled by the extremely contagious Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.”

Currently second booster shots are only offered to individuals over the age of 50.

Meanwhile, discussion of a potential fifth shot is already underway. During a recent television appearance, CNN host Don Lemon asked CNN medical analyst Jonathan Reiner if such a scenario is likely.

LEMON: “That was my next question, I’m giving away my age because I’ve already had four shots, I’ve had two boosters, so I’m over 50.”

REINER: “Me too.”

LEMON: “So are we going to get a fifth shot? We’re going to have to have a fifth shot?”

REINER: “Yeah, probably.”

The discussions highlight certain realities of Covid immunization.

“Immunity wanes,” Fauci said during a White House briefing on Tuesday, “whether that’s immunity following infection or immunity following vaccine.”

While it’s true that immunization wanes, new scientific research from The New England Journal of Medicine suggests natural immunity lasts longer than immunity acquired from vaccines.

The study, a case–control analysis based on data from Qatar collected from December 23, 2021 through February 21, 2022, involved millions of people, including 1,306,862 who received at least two doses of the Pfizer vaccine (BNT162b2) and 893,671 people who received at least two doses of the Moderna vaccine (mRNA-1273), as well unvaccinated individuals.

The results of the study are a mixed bag for the vaccines.

The best news is that “any form of previous immunity, whether induced by previous infection or vaccination, is associated with strong and durable protection against Covid-19–related hospitalization and death.” (In other words, both vaccines and natural immunity reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from Covid.)

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Also good news is that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines “enhanced protection among persons who had had a previous infection.”

“The combination of prior, full vaccination and prior infection was maximally protective,” researchers said in a summary of the study’s findings released last month by the Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom. “Individuals with prior infection and three doses of either mRNA vaccine were, overall, nearly 80 percent protected from symptomatic infection during the Omicron wave.”

But the study also found that two doses of vaccines offered “negligible” protection against Omicron infection.

“A key finding was that a history of vaccination with the standard two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine, but no history of prior infection, brought no significant protection against symptomatic Omicron infection,” researchers said.

In regards to the Pfizer vaccine, three shots offered considerably more protection. But the protection was still lower than natural immunity, which offered stronger and more sustained protection from infection than vaccination. (Researchers noted that “people with a prior-variant infection were moderately protected from Omicron with little decline in protection even a year after their prior infection.”)

The findings are not unlike those out of Israel published last year, which found that natural immunity offered more robust protection against the Delta variant than vaccines.

“The natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” Science reported in August 2021 in a piece exploring the Israel findings.

More than a dozen other studies also found that natural immunity offered powerful protection against Covid, equal to or stronger than vaccination.

Even absent these findings, vaccine mandates were dubious from the beginning. The morality of violating bodily autonomy through government coercion is a serious and dangerous matter. In light of these findings, however, vaccine mandates also appear nonsensical.

While many institutions now consider Covid infection a form of immunization — including the NCAA, which in January changed its policy to accommodate athletes who’d had Covid — many have not. Thousands of soldiers have been discharged because of their vaccination status. Healthcare workers continue to face vaccination mandates in many places.

It’s time for all institutions — especially governments — to recognize vaccination choices should remain with individuals. The idea that freedom over one’s own body is the most basic and essential freedom is one embraced not just by libertarians like Ron Paul but by international leaders like Natalia Kanem, a physician who leads the United Nations Population Fund.

“Bodily autonomy is the foundation upon which all other human rights are built,” Kanem bluntly states.

All efforts to compel people to get vaccinated (or else) are coercive, and therefore wrong. But when the government, in particular, violates bodily autonomy for an alleged greater good, it betrays its very reason for being.

“The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights,” the philosopher Ayn Rand noted.

As more studies like the research published by The New England Journal of Medicine come out, it becomes more and more clear that vaccine mandates were not just immoral. They were senseless.

Fortunately, many are beginning to realize just that.

 

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Originally published at FEE.org. Republished with permission.

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