Editors at National Review Online highlight science that rebuts a popular narrative from the COVID scolds.

Go figure, it turns out that natural immunity from a Covid infection is at least as effective at protecting you from reinfection with the virus as two doses of the vaccine.

That’s the conclusion of a meta-study that reviewed a total of 65 studies from 19 different countries, comparing how much a Covid-19 infection protected a person from subsequent reinfection and illness, and how that protection compared to getting vaccinated. The study was published in the Lancet and financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

“Although protection from re-infection from all variants wanes over time, our analysis of the available data suggests that the level of protection afforded by previous infection is at least as high, if not higher than that provided by two-dose vaccination using high-quality mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech),” the researchers conclude.

The researchers noted that “protection from past infection against re-infection from pre-omicron variants was very high and remained high even after 40 weeks” and “protection from severe disease was high for all variants.” In other words, once you’ve gotten through your first bout with Covid, subsequent run-ins with the virus shouldn’t hit you much harder and in many cases will be milder or perhaps even asymptomatic. The study did find that infection with an early version of the virus didn’t give as much protection against the Omicron variant. But the protection against the risk of severe disease was still high: “Protection against severe disease remained high for all variants, with 90.2 percent for ancestral, alpha, and delta variants, and 88.9 percent for omicron BA.1 at 40 weeks.”

The conclusions of the study indicate that while we were destined to have a public debate about the value of vaccination, that debate turned unnecessarily nasty, and much of it wasted time and energy.