A recent meta-analysis revealed some astonishing results. A meta-analysis is a statistical review of previously published data to find common results and trends. The Lancet, the oldest weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, published the results of natural immunity vs. vaccination protection.
This meta-analysis reviewed many different COVID variants from 65 studies in 19 countries. The key points are that natural immunity from COVID-19 provides long-lasting protection (88%) against all known variants for at least ten months after infection compared to those without innate immunity.
https://www.healthdata.org/news-release/lancet-most-comprehensive-study-date-provides-evidence-natural-immunity-protection The 88% protection rate determined by a review of the studies indicates that natural immunity is equal to two doses of the mRNA vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNtech for the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron BA.1 variants. It was noted that medical authorities still claim that vaccinations are safe for high-risk populations (over 60 with comorbidities) compared to the risk of becoming infected, which might result in severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
The coronavirus variant does matter when it comes to infection. The analyses showed that pre-Omicron viral variants offered substantial protection from reinfection – 85% prevention at one month and 79% at ten months. However, the different strands of the Omicron virus demonstrated a reinfection rate of 74% after one month and leveling off around 36% after ten months.
The level of protection from natural infection against the severity of COVID-19 resulting in hospitalization and death was very high – about 90% for the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron BA.1 variants. Scientists noted that early infections and resulting natural immunity from pre-Omicron variants provided reduced protection against reinfection from the newer Omicron variants. However, when one contracted the Omicron variant, the natural immunity was maintained higher.
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)02465-5/fulltext Almost half of the world’s population have been infected with the Omicron variant from November 2021 through June of 2022. Further testing is needed to fully evaluate the natural immunity from the various variants evolving from the Omicron virus.
Part of the problem is that data is unavailable in many countries, and the ten-month window to compare previous variant infections needs more time. For example, a person infected in June 2022 would not attain ten-month post-infection until April 2023. Today, we are a week away from the beginning of March 2023. Additionally, using multiple vaccinations and booster presents a unique challenge when comparing natural immunity to the vaccine shot options.
Vaccines are being used to protect those at higher risk. A higher-hybrid immunity may exist with those receiving vaccinations and becoming infected. Natural immunity combined with vaccines provides more protection for the overall population. Future estimates of new infections will have to consider the higher-hybrid immunity.
Once this occurs, the coronavirus infection season may mimic other coronavirus and flu viruses – higher infections at specific times of the year. Regardless, a lot of good information has been gleaned from the data, and researchers know what data to evaluate in the future to gain more clarity in assessing the SARS-CoV-2 virus and humans.
I have often opined that I would not consider the mRNA vaccines due to the shortened clinical trials before public release and the new technology. I think it was pretty apparent to the vaccine manufacturers that it did not live up to the general term ‘vaccine’ when the protection levels dropped significantly within a year.
I was very fortunate to have had both the Delta and Omicron variants as part of living in the pandemic world. Based on the reported data, my ability to provide natural protection against reinfection remains high.
One could assume that if they were vaccinated, boosted, and infected with multiple viral variants, their protection would also remain elevated. I have nothing against any vaccine that has been thoroughly tested. When they were available, I was prepared to get a vaccine (a vector or sub-protein unit). Unfortunately, I became infected within days of having to make that decision. I drew a line in the sand, and the pandemic would not wait for me to choose a vaccine.