People with a prior COVID infection received better protection against Delta versus vaccines. Natural immunity may prove to be a more powerful shield against the Delta variant.
This is according to a report shared by California and New York health officials.
Prior COVID Infection Gave Better Protection Than Vaccines Alone
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. People with a prior COVID infection showed better protection against Delta versus vaccines.
This suggests that natural immunity was more effective against Delta versus vaccines alone. However, people who recovered from COVID and got vaccines had the best protection.
Conversely, people who never caught COVID and remained unvaccinated showed the lowest protection. The report concluded that vaccination remains the safest strategy against COVID-19.
Despite the Report, Nothing Changes in CDC Recommendation
Also, the report noted that the results do not apply to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Omicron now accounts for 99.5%of all-new COVID infections in the United States.
One of the authors, CDC’s Dr. Ben Silk, said the report doesn't change their recommendations. “Vaccination is still the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” he added.
The study involved data gathered by California and New York health officials. This involved the period between May to November 2021, which included the time of Delta.
Those who survived a previous infection reported lower COVID rates versus the vaccinated. Silk also said that this represented a change from the period where Alpha dominated. Before Delta, vaccines provided better protection than a previous infection.
Natural Immunity Carries Risks
However, Delta took over during 2021’s summer and fall seasons. It quickly became the dominant virus strain in the United States.
While Delta claimed thousands of lives, it also led to this discovery. Silk said that those who survived a prior COVID infection provided better infection against Delta compared to vaccination alone.
However, acquiring immunity through natural infection also carries significant risks. By November 2021, more than 130,000 California and New York residents died from COVID-19.
However, the analysis did not include information on the severity of the initial infection. It also did not delve into the full range of illnesses from the prior COVID infection. Also, the study ended before vaccine booster doses became mainstream.
‘Vaccines Still Provide Safest Protection’
Meanwhile, Dr. Erica Pan, California's state epidemiologist, also commented on the study. She said the study proved vaccines remain the safest option. The study “clearly shows” that vaccines provide the safest protection against COVID-19.
More importantly, they offer added protection for those with prior infections. Pan said that new data involving the Omicron strain shows boosters are effective. She added that a booster provides added protection against infection, hospitalization, and death.
The CDC will continue studying the impact of vaccination, boosters, and prior infection. This time, it’s dealing with results gathered from people during the Omicron surge. He promised to share further reports once data is available.
Watch the Forbes Breaking News video reporting that according to the CDC, prior COVID infection offered more protection against Delta than vaccines:
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