A new study in Israel suggests that natural immunity from COVID-19 provides a stronger defense against the virus, particularly its more transmissible Delta strain, compared to individuals who have already received two shots of the vaccine.
According to the findings of the study conducted by the Maccabi Healthcare Service, also known as Kupat Holim Maccabi, it seems that people who have contracted COVID-19 and eventually recovered are less likely to get infected with the Delta variant. This is in contrast to the individuals who were administered double doses of the vaccine.
Headed by Dr. Sivan Gazit, the study correlated 46,035 members of the Maccabi Healthcare Service who got infected with COVID-19 at some point of the pandemic with individuals who received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine at the start of the year.
The researchers did a baseline study regarding the transmission rate of the Delta variant and discovered that it “had a 27-fold higher chance of breaking through vaccine protection.”
The study’s proponents gathered that unvaccinated people who previously caught the virus yet eventually recovered are more resilient to the Delta variant than those given two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. In summary, the latter group “had a six-fold higher chance of getting infected with Delta” compared to their unvaccinated yet recovered counterparts.
Remarkably, the study also revealed that vaccinated persons had a 6.7-fold higher chance of requiring hospital care and a seven-fold more increased likelihood of experiencing COVID-19 symptomatic effects.
However, Professor and Immunologist Cyrille Cohen of Bar Ilan University pointed out that the study’s findings should not be interpreted as a reason to forgo vaccination entirely. Cohen, who was not involved in the research in any way, related that “certain people who are not inclined to get vaccinated might be mistaken and think that this means you’d better get sick a priori and not get a vaccine.”
Cohen also added that “such a thinking is medically wrong, and the study results do not mean that people should expose themselves on purpose and get sick.” He stressed that it is better to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than being “at risk of hospitalization, death, and long-running after-effects.”