by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Last week state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen was asked an actual, nonapproved question during a press briefing. Reporter Matt Mercer of North State Journal asked Cohen if the state was doing anything to track the level of natural immunity people in North Carolina have and why they would “still need to get vaccinated if they have successfully recovered and still possess antibodies from Covid-19.”
Cohen’s answer was that natural immunity was very limited compared with vaccine-induced immunity: “Yeah so there’s a very different way in which your body builds immunity when you get Covid and then you build immunity versus when you get a vaccine and you build immunity. Vaccine is a supercharged way of teaching your body about Covid and all different kinds of Covid. When you get covid just naturally in the community and you’ve gotten sick with it. it potentially can just give you a limited type of immunity. Some people it can give an extensive immunity, but often it can give you limited immunity and we are seeing plenty of folks unfortunately who are getting covid a second time.”
Even for an administration known to color well outside the lines of science and data, Cohen’s comment was ignorant of an impressive and growing body of research into the immunity effects of fighting off a Covid-19 infection — and how the natural immunity is stronger and more robust than vaccine-induced immunity.
Science, the magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, acknowledges more science and data on the subject:
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, according to a large Israeli study that some scientists wish came with a “Don’t try this at home” label. The newly released data show people who once had a SARS-CoV-2 infection were much less likely than vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19.
This research is consistent with research over the past two years finding durable, long-lasting immunity in previously infected Covid-19 patients. See, e.g., Daniel Horowitz’s discussion of 15 studies showing natural immunity from prior infection is more robust than vaccine-induced immunity.
It used to be known that natural immunity was robust and long-lasting, but also that it’s bought at a personal price, which is why vaccination came about — to induce immunity without imposing so high a price. Now, as with so many other things we’ve decided to ignore since March 2020, people have chosen to pretend that the only immunity is vaccine-induced immunity. If natural immunity is discussed at all, it’s downplayed in favor of vaccines.
Nussenzweig’s group has published data showing people who recover from a SARS-CoV-2 infection continue to develop increasing numbers and types of coronavirus-targeting antibodies for up to 1 year. By contrast, he says, twice-vaccinated people stop seeing increases “in the potency or breadth of the overall memory antibody compartment” a few months after their second dose.
For many infectious diseases, naturally acquired immunity is known to be more powerful than vaccine-induced immunity and it often lasts a lifetime. Other coronaviruses that cause the serious human diseases severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome trigger robust and persistent immune responses. At the same time, several other human coronaviruses, which usually cause little more than colds, are known to reinfect people regularly.
This would all be mere unfortunate oversight were it not for the fact that so many government officials and bureaucrats, including Gov. Roy Cooper and health bureaucrat Cohen, are now openly promoting businesses to deny entry to unvaccinated people without regard even to natural immunity.
It’s wrong, foolish, and a dangerous precedent to set.