“It’s a question that scientists have been trying to answer since the start of the pandemic, one that is central to the rancorous political debates over coronavirus vaccine policies: How much immunity does someone have after recovering from a coronavirus infection, and how does it compare with immunity provided by vaccination?” Lena H. Sun and Joel Achenbach write for The Washington Post in a long-awaited study on natural immunity from Covid-19. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has weighed in for the first time in a detailed science report released with little fanfare Friday evening. Reviewing scores of research studies and its own unpublished data, the agency found that both infection-induced and vaccine-induced immunity are durable for at least six months — but that vaccines are more consistent in their protection and offer a huge boost in antibodies for people previously infected. In comparing the two types of immunity, scientists said research shows vaccination provides a ‘higher, more robust, and more consistent level of immunity to protect people from COVID-19 than infection alone.’ Coronavirus infections can cause severe disease or no symptoms at all, and the C.D.C. found that antibody levels vary widely from one individual to another after an infection. The report also notes that there is no test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration that would enable doctors and the public to reliably measure an individual’s protection from disease. And although higher levels of neutralizing antibodies generally signal higher protection, scientists don’t know precisely what level of antibodies will protect an individual.” Lena H. Sun and Joel Achenbach, “CDC finds immunity from vaccines is more consistent than from infection, but both last at least six months,” The Washington Post.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder