We really find it hard to understand why our health officials still don’t recognize a previous infection with COVID-19 as at least equivalent to the immunity provided by full vaccination. There are now close to 150 researches indicating that natural immunity due to a previous infection confers equivalent, if not superior, protection compared to vaccine immunity.
The pool of data suggests that natural immunity is likely more robust, longer-lasting and possibly more effective against the newer variants compared to vaccine-generated immunity.
People are always quick to attribute the milder clinical course of the Omicron variant due to mass vaccination. There’s no arguing that they’re partly correct, but they should agree also to the evident real-world data that the more highly vaccinated a population is, the more susceptible they appear to be to the Omicron variant. Omicron has breezed through all currently available vaccines like it’s child’s play.
The more vaccinated a country is, the higher the peaks of newly diagnosed cases are. Just look at the graphs showing new cases in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, and we realize why the heads of state of these countries concede that there’s no way—within the realm of currently available science—that we could possibly lick Omicron. And if we can’t lick ’em, we might as well join ’em.
That’s why several countries have now thrown away their vaccine passes and other unreasonable restrictions, and just exhorted their citizens to use their best judgment on what to do and not do to prevent the spread and surge of Omicron and subsequent new variants.
While these pragmatic countries have come to terms with reality and discarded their vaccine passes, we in the Philippines remain in an aggressive mode to get everyone vaccinated, including innocent, unsuspecting children, who have no inkling whatsoever of what they’re exchanging for lollipops and visits to the zoo.
We seem to be still light-years away from realizing what we’ve been trying to say since last year, that mass vaccination will never get us to herd immunity. On the contrary, it may get us further away. Every time we get closer to what may be our exit out of this pandemic, we intensify our mass vaccination, and that enhances the creation of variants which will spur the next surge. And so, it will be a recurrent cycle of surge with a lull period in between, such as what we’re experiencing now.
We shared the opinion of a few others a few weeks after Omicron was first reported in South Africa, that it might be the big break out of this pandemic we’ve been waiting for. As some described it, Omicron was the vaccine which man failed to make. It’s like a natural attenuated or weakened vaccine that’s good enough to produce a complete immune reaction, but weak enough to only cause mild disease.
That’s why we deemed it irrational to vaccinate the population against it. It was sparing people from Delta, which was a lot deadlier, and the immunity earned from Omicron was strong enough to prevent a Delta infection. The other way around wasn’t true.
Mass vaccination was squandering the golden opportunity offered by Omicron. It’s like a talent giving a stellar performance in “America’s Got Talent” in the first 90 percent of the performance, and just as Simon Cowell stands up to press the golden buzzer, the talent commits a faux pas that nullifies the entire performance.
Reversing the gains
Intensifying mass vaccination seems to be that faux pas that can reverse the gains of what experts like Dr. Robert Malone described as the heaven-sent Omicron. We even recommended in a previous commentary that all low-risk individuals, especially healthy children and young adults, should go out and not mind being exposed to Omicron before it mutates into something more virulent. Although some labeled our suggestion foolish and irresponsible, we believed it was a lot safer and more responsible than vaccinating them with any of our currently available vaccines, which practically consigns them to a future of great uncertainties.
We asked basic questions that could not be answered, like why should we still use our near-expiring, old-edition vaccines that were intended for the already long-gone, original Wuhan wild virus? Why still use these outdated vaccines that have shown to be already ineffective against Omicron? Why mandate vaccination for an infection that is just as mild as the ordinary seasonal flu? We never mandated everyone to get their flu shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has been staunchly advocating for mass vaccination for COVID-19, and you won’t really expect it to acknowledge the superiority of natural infection over vaccine immunity. But in a study they published recently in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, they practically conceded that protection from a previous COVID-19 infection was much better than that offered by vaccination against the Delta variant.
The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report is a weekly publication of relevant studies, which are not peer reviewed but have passed the scrutiny of CDC officials before being published. It’s said that the all studies published in this weekly report “constitutes the official voice” of the CDC.
Researchers in the study looked at the health records from California and New York between May 30 and Nov. 20, 2021. COVID-19 patients were divided into four groups; namely 1) unvaccinated with no previous COVID-19 diagnosis, 2) unvaccinated with a previous COVID-19 infection, 3) vaccinated with no prior COVID-19 infection and 4) vaccinated with prior COVID-19 infection.
The results showed that those who were not vaccinated but were infected previously were much less likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to vaccinated people who were not previously infected with COVID-19. The risk of hospitalization in the previously infected was also much less than in the vaccinated but not infected group. As expected, the unvaccinated without prior infection were at highest risk to get infected with COVID-19 and get hospitalized.
“Importantly, infection-derived protection (natural immunity) was greater after the highly transmissible Delta variant became predominant, coinciding with early declining of vaccine-induced immunity in many persons,” the authors wrote.
The authors should have gone further in recommending that if one already has a previous COVID-19 infection, one no longer needed to be vaccinated. There’s no meaningful benefit anymore from getting the jab.
The study looked at records until late November, and likely did not cover patients infected with the Omicron variant. The Delta variant was the predominant variant during the period of the study. But somehow, the results reflect the relative effectiveness and degree of protection conferred by natural immunity versus vaccine immunity. For us, the bottom line is that vaccine immunity pales in comparison to natural immunity against a killer variant, which the Delta was.
The big question therefore resurfaces—why don’t our health officials recognize natural immunity in those who already contracted COVID-19 and survived it? Why still mandate that these COVID-19 survivors get vaccinated, when the data clearly show there’s no meaningful incremental increase in immunity if you get them vaxxed?
Vaccinating them only exposes them to the unnecessary risks of potentially serious side effects like blood clots, heart swelling, heart failure, irregular heartbeat with possible sudden death. Although this may occur only rarely, the hapless one in several thousands who’ll experience these serious vaccine side effects did not really have to expose himself to such risk were it not for the government mandate.
This may well be a factor in why we have a coincidental increase in excess deaths due to heart attacks, strokes and other causes during the period that we started rolling out the vaccine. Our health officials should look into this more seriously before lives are unnecessarily compromised.