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Vaccinating people who have had covid-19: why doesn’t natural immunity count in the US?

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 13 September 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2101

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Re: Vaccinating people who have had covid-19: why doesn’t natural immunity count in the US?

Dear Editor, allow me to comment for I agree fully that this vaccine induced spike-specific immunity cannot compare to the broad, robust, durable, long-lasting natural exposure immunity from prior infection. Immunology 101.

It is a simple question: when you were a child, and you got measles or your classmate, did your mother then after you recovered, take you to get a shot for measles? This is after you recovered from your measles bout. You will recall your mom did not then vaccinate you and this is for a reason. She knew you were now immune. Back then. The doctor would have told her no need if she took you for a shot.

So why is it different for COVID?

Additionally, Hellerstein (1) writes “Although most vaccine candidates are focusing on spike protein as antigen, natural infection by SARS-CoV-2 induces broad epitope coverage, cross-reactive with other beta-coronaviruses”. Furthermore, Lineburg et al. (2) adds to this debate on long-lasting protective immunity by reporting that their findings indicate “the basis of selective T cell cross-reactivity for an immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 epitope and its homologs from seasonal coronaviruses”. We also have two tantalizing studies (3, 4) by Stamatatos and Reynolds showing that prior infected persons receive elevated post-infection serum-neutralizing capacity with one vaccine dose. Shrestha’s study (6) is also critical for it shows that “Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination”.







Additional research that shows the superiority of natural exposure immunity over vaccine immunity:

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 2021
Paul Alexander
Evidence based medicine researcher, clinical epidemiologist, former assistant Professor McMaster
Washington DC