Another interesting month – August 2021 – has passed. Several new findings were released around the world that further improve our understanding of the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, although many pieces of the puzzle(s) remain missing.
As we explained before, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic (and vaccines), it is worth taking a look at Israel because this was the first country that established herd immunity (in May-June 2021) through its national COVID-19 vaccination program. Moreover, Israel is a relatively small nation which makes it much easier to safeguard good practices in terms of data collection or management, hence allows researchers to draw more accurate conclusions. This is interesting because whatever happens in Israel today may happen in other countries, including Indonesia, tomorrow.
Last month, it had already become clear from developments and research in Israel that existing COVID-19 vaccines only have a temporary (positive) effect on peoples’ immune systems. As the number of new COVID-19 cases soared in Israel (touching new record high levels), while the majority of new hospitalizations involved fully vaccinated Israelis (two jabs), researchers concluded (based on blood tests) that the antibodies that are created by the vaccines start waning rapidly from around six months after the last dose. Therefore, Israel rolled out the booster program (a third shot), a decision that is not without risks considering we still do not fully understand the possible negative long-term effects of mRNA vaccines on peoples’ health.
A more recent study that originates from Israel now found that people who had been infected (naturally) with COVID-19 have greater protection than vaccinated people against becoming re-infected with the virus’ Delta variant. This study, which was led by researchers at the Maccabi Research & Innovation Center at Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv, was based on patients in the Maccabi health system from June through August 2021, when the delta variant was dominant in Israel.
The conclusions of the study were that people who received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in January-February 2021 were 13 times more likely to be infected with the Delta variant than unvaccinated people (who had experienced a natural COVID-19 infection during the same period) were to be re-infected.
Meanwhile, over a longer period of time, with the infection occurring anytime from March 2020 to February 2021, when different variants were dominant in Israel, fully vaccinated people were six times more likely to become infected and seven times more likely to experience symptomatic disease than unvaccinated people. So, this not only suggests that a natural infection offers better protection (than a vaccine) against re-infection (of the same variant) but also offers broader protection against mutations of the COVID-19 virus.
While this study is yet to be peer-reviewed, and it remains uncertain how reliable the data – used in this study – were, these findings are conform the widely accepted notion (which already existed in pre-COVID-19 times) that natural infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccines. However, the big risk in terms of a natural infection is that the ‘dose’ is not controlled (contrary to a vaccine). So, in case someone is exposed to a high dose of COVID-19 (for example by being in a confined room with a lot of COVID-19 aerosols, yet weak ventilation, for a long time), then it may be too much for the person’s immune system to handle (depending on various factors, such as the person’s age and underlying illnesses).
This is the introduction to the article. The full article is available in the August 2021 report. This report can be ordered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a message to +62.882.9875.1125 (including WhatsApp).