The great immunity debate of vaccines vs infection antibodies

What is the news?

Recent studies showed that immunity induced by Pfizer shot waned quickly. This led to comparisons between immunity induced by the vaccine shot and the immunity induced by COVID infection.

The comparison between vaccine immunity and infection-induced immunity

Doctors say that the immunity induced by the vaccine lasts longer. Doctors also say that this condition is not applicable to all diseases.

The US Centres for Disease Control told people in early August that vaccine-induced immunity is better than immunity acquired from past infection.

But, the data from Israel show that the people who had two Pfizer shots were about 27 times more likely to get symptomatic covid, and eight times more likely to be hospitalized than people who’d been infected(Natural immunity).

Read more: Effectiveness of vaccines

The new data also show that the immunity induced by some vaccines like Pfizer weakened rapidly. While people who had Covid-19 infection showed higher levels of antibodies.

This also explains why the recurrent waves in developed countries have been less catastrophic. As the infected persons have generated strong immunity, even against the Delta variant.

Does it mean vaccine is not needed?

However, this cannot be taken as an argument for skipping the vaccine doses. It has been clinically established that vaccines also build strong antibodies, reduce the risk of hospitalization and save lives.

What should be the approach going forward?

We can take the approach adopted by France, Italy and other countries, where we give one shot to people who have been infected and continue with two shots for others. As Israeli data show that a single shot can boost post-infection immunity to even higher levels.

Source: This post is based on the article “The great immunity debate of vaccines vs infection antibodies” published in the Live Mint on 8th September 2021.

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