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, a new study said Wednesday.
The CDC finally commented on the benefits of 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.
They made it clear they weren’t recommending infection due to the risks involved, and they still prefer the vaccination strategy.
Prior to Delta becoming dominant, vaccination conferred greater immunity than infection. But the relationship shifted when the variant became predominant in late June and July.
By the week of October 3, case rates among vaccinated people without prior Covid were around six times lower in California and five times lower in New York compared to those who were unvaccinated and without prior Covid.
But the rates were substantially lower among people with previous Covid, including around 29 times (California) and 15 times lower (New York) among unvaccinated persons with a previous diagnosis, compared to those who were unvaccinated and without prior Covid.
Protection was highest among those who had both vaccination and prior Covid.
Other research, including a notable paper from Israel in August, have similarly found that natural immunity was more potent than vaccines during the Delta surge.
But the US CDC had previously taken the opposite position, based on pre-Delta data. In other words, natural immunity has to be doing a lot to squelch this virus.
Basically, the CDC is finally admitting what they knew all along.