The Centers for Disease Control has finally admitted that natural immunity from prior infection exists. But it’s even worse than that for the Covid narrative: The CDC admits that natural immunity from prior infections is superior to vaccinated immunity alone.
The CDC broke its silence on natural immunity on Wednesday. It released a study called “COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations by COVID-19 Vaccination Status and Previous COVID-19 Diagnosis — California and New York, May–November 2021.” The findings were reported by Agence France-Presse.
“During America’s last surge of the coronavirus driven by the Delta variant, people who were unvaccinated but survived Covid were better protected than those who were vaccinated and not previously infected,” AFP noted about the new study.
“The finding is the latest to weigh in on a debate on the relative strengths of natural versus vaccine-acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2, but comes this time with the imprimatur of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” AFP added.
The study itself is heavily parsed and argues that vaccination is still the best strategy to prevent Covid hospitalizations and deaths. That may be true — but only for people who don’t have natural immunity from prior infections.
During May–November 2021, case and hospitalization rates were highest among persons who were unvaccinated without a previous diagnosis. Before Delta became the predominant variant in June, case rates were higher among persons who survived a previous infection than persons who were vaccinated alone. By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.
The CDC unsurprisingly urged all Americans to get vaccinated, regardless of prior infections. This is consistent with the agency’s earlier positions.
Although the epidemiology of COVID-19 might change as new variants emerge, vaccination remains the safest strategy for averting future SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalizations, long-term sequelae, and death. Primary vaccination, additional doses, and booster doses are recommended for all eligible persons. Additional future recommendations for vaccine doses might be warranted as the virus and immunity levels change.
But if you dig further into the release, you get a clearer picture of how vaccinated immunity and natural immunity stack up.
Across the entire study period, persons with vaccine- and infection-derived immunity had much lower rates of hospitalization compared with those in unvaccinated persons. These results suggest that vaccination protects against COVID-19 and related hospitalization and that surviving a previous infection protects against a reinfection. Importantly, infection-derived protection was greater after the highly transmissible Delta variant became predominant, coinciding with early declining of vaccine-induced immunity in many persons (5). Similar data accounting for booster doses and as new variants, including Omicron, circulate will need to be assessed.
The public healthy agency has allowed the American people to believe in the false argument that natural immunity does not work against Covid. But when you break down the numbers, you see that natural immunity from prior infection, in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, is potent protection against Covid.
One might argue that natural immunity from prior infection is actually doing a lot of the heavy lifting among the vaccinated population, as will be seen below.
The CDC’s press release refers specifically to California and New York. But it’s another case — Rhode Island — that provides one of the best illustrations of how the data break down.
Dr. Andrew Bostom, an epidemiologist, delved into the data and provided the statistical breakdown that helps us fully understand what is going on:
There was ~6X lower risk of covid-19 hospitalization and ~28X lower risk of covid-19 death, comparing those with natural immunity to covid-19, regardless of vaccination status, to those fully vaccinated…
Rhode Island raw data on covid-19 infections by vaccination and prior infection status, December, 2021
If you take these base numbers, which come from the Rhode Island Department of Health’s website, you come to some startling conclusions. After verifying the data and the epidemiologist’s methodology (Dr. Bostom changes some of the Rhode Island Health Department’s terms and does some simple math before running the statistics), you can see that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all greatly reduced by natural immunity.
The strongest takeaway is regarding deaths. Even when correcting for scale, survival of a prior infection was by far the greatest predictor of surviving another Covid infection.
However, if one did not have a prior infection (or does not know if one had a prior infection), the argument can be made that vaccination appears to provide the best strategy of surviving one. (It is important to note that the vaccinated community in Rhode Island is much larger than the unvaccinated community; it is about twice as large, therefore the incidence rate for unvaccinated deaths is about three times as high).
Yet, even as the CDC estimated that as of September there were 146.6 million Americans with prior infections, the state-by-state breakdown, including Rhode Island, proves to be substantially higher after the Omicron surge, as Becker News had earlier predicted would be the case.
Rhode Island’s percent of prior infections: 92 percent.
Here is New York’s, for context on the CDC’s latest press release. It is about 88 percent prior infections.
Here is California’s. About 78 percent.
Just for further context, here is Florida. About 87 percent.
For perspective, the Mayo Clinic once considered 200 million Americans with vaccinated or natural immunity to be sufficient to claim “herd immunity.” The latest Omicron numbers, based on CDC’s Covid burden estimates, lead us to assess there may be as many as 250 million Americans with prior infections. (Cases, however, may be counted more than once.)
Rhode Island’s pattern of natural immunity being the best predictor of positive health outcomes holds up when it comes to hospitalizations.
As one can see, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups with prior infections had much better health outcomes. Furthermore, the health outcomes for the unvaccinated with natural immunity group was far superior to the vaccinated with no natural immunity group.
Additionally, natural immunity proved to be a far superior barrier against Covid reinfection than vaccinations alone.
The CDC release and the state-level data both indicate that natural immunity has been a powerful defense against Covid-19. Two years into the pandemic, it has taken until now for the public health agency to admit it.
It’s even worse than that, however, as the data show. The vaccines are only of marginal utility, at best, to those who have had prior infections to SARS-CoV-2. And as recent studies show, even though the vaccines and as many as two “booster shots” fail to stop the spread and infections, Omicron appears to confer natural immunity to other variants, such as Delta.
“Previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 has shown to induce effective immunity and protection against reinfections in most individuals,” the European Journal of Immunology study said.
Nonetheless, the mainstream media have repeatedly tried to convince the American people that natural immunity is either a myth or is ineffective against Covid.
CNN “reported” on the news earlier today, but its first headline was blatantly wrong. It reported the reverse of what the CDC said. Phil Kerpen pointed out the CNN story’s error.C
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 19, 2022
CNN then “stealth edited” the story with a new headline… which was still wildly misleading, as we saw from the analyses above.
Vaccination was “safest” — but only if you didn’t have a prior infection. Natural immunity was the most important indicator of positive healthcomes, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. You do not push mass vaccination for all age groups and risk profiles for extremely minimal benefits, especially among demographics that are statistically at near-zero mortality risk.
The AP was guilty of an infamous “fact check” on natural immunity in September.
Posts continue to circulate online falsely claiming that COVID-19 survivors don’t need vaccines because of natural immunity. In fact, that protection is variable and not long-lasting, so vaccines are still recommended. Here’s our recent look at this claim. https://t.co/NHiepR24T1
— AP Fact Check (@APFactCheck) September 29, 2021
“Posts continue to circulate online falsely claiming that COVID-19 survivors don’t need vaccines because of natural immunity,” the AP claimed. “In fact, that protection is variable and not long-lasting, so vaccines are still recommended.”
But a cursory review of the scientific literature shows conclusively that natural immunity is real and it can be relied upon for strong protection against Covid-19. A Washington Post “perspective” piece from September got it right. Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, was correct in his assessment of the situation.
“More than 15 studies have demonstrated the power of immunity acquired by previously having the virus,” he continued. “A 700,000-person study from Israel two weeks ago found that those who had experienced prior infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic covid infection than those who were vaccinated. This affirmed a June Cleveland Clinic study of health-care workers (who are often exposed to the virus), in which none who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus got reinfected. The study authors concluded that ‘individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from covid-19 vaccination.’ And in May, a Washington University study found that even a mild covid infection resulted in long-lasting immunity.”
The Johns Hopkins professor referred to 15 studies on natural immunity resulting from prior infections to Covid-19. A famous article from Brownstone listed 30 such scientific studies on the benefit of Covid-19 natural immunity, in addition to adding four more to its comprehensive list of 140 scientific studies on natural immunity.
These “fact checkers” and “health agencies” are acting more like vaccine salesmen than watchdogs over the public trust.
Even when the truth comes out, they can’t help but continue to push the universal vaccination agenda. It’s sad, pathetic, and it’s getting very old.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.