New preprint data suggests prior COVID infection generates fantastic immunity. Can we talk about that? What it means for vaccines, mandates, and more.
– Hey, I’m just going to come right out and say it. Natural infection with COVID works to produce immunity against future severe disease and future infection at a rate that’s probably equal to or better than vaccination. There, I said it. Can we just stop denying that actual infection, like almost every other disease that we have vaccines for, getting infected “naturally,” which by the way, I hate that word ’cause it feels, like, “organic” to me. Getting infected in the wild, right, will generate immunity. If it didn’t, the vaccine would have a hard time working because the vaccine looks to copy the natural response to the antigen that the disease presents to you.
So, there’s a recent, and this is what we’ve done. We’ve politicized the whole thing in the US. There’s a whole group of public health people that just deny that natural infection matters, right? Paul Offit, virologist, vaccine guru, came on the show and said, “Yeah, natural infection works,” right? Vaccines work. This big study, that’s what we need to be saying. The question is, what do you do when you start mandating vaccines, and people who’ve had COVID are then told you also have to get this, or you can’t work, or you can’t do this, you can’t do that? How do you think they’re going to feel in the setting of something that’s already been so politically divisive? It’s like, they went through the COVID mill, they came out, they’ve had it, and now you’re telling them that doesn’t count at all. You need two doses of an mRNA vaccine, by the way, which is probably gonna make you feel like crap for a day or two, because that’s the immune response, especially if you’ve been infected before. You got to do that now, or, A, you’re a bad person, B, you’re killing grandma, C, did I mention you’re a bad person? And D, you can’t work. Okay, I hate it. I hate what we’re doing.
If you want to create distrust, anger, resentment, and then the next pandemic that comes along, no one listens to you, this is the way to do it. It’s absolutely the way to do it. So, big study out of Israel. Pre-print, so not been peer-reviewed yet. Small numbers of sick people. So, even though there were big numbers in the trial, it was an observational retrospective trial looking at, like, vaccinated people versus people who got COVID, versus, you know, people who got COVID and got a single shot too. And what they found was, looking back, but again, small numbers, so it’s hard, small numbers of people who actually got sick, so it’s hard to really jump on this. But, it’s still quite a treatment effect. The people who got natural infection were multiple times more resistant to getting reinfected and hospitalized than people who got both doses of the vaccine. So that tells you natural infection works. It probably induces, and, even I didn’t think this was true based on early data that said that vaccine induced two shots with the vaccine produces more neutralizing antibodies in people who were naturally infected, but may be more to it than neutralizing antibodies, right? There’s T-cell response, there’s non-neutralizing, like, antibodies against other parts of the virus that the vaccine doesn’t generate, right? And so, and the question of consistency, like, how bad were you infected initially? How much immune response? Hard to measure, ’cause we don’t know how the antibodies actually correlate to protection in individuals. That’s why antibody tests are so useless a lot of the time. So, all that being said, natural infection is at least as good and probably quite a bit better than vaccine-induced immunity. But here’s a twist.
If you’ve been naturally infected, and you get a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine, say, mRNA vaccine, you can probably substitute in Moderna, which is probably even more effective, higher dose, you were even half as likely to get sick again. And other data, and I’m going to link to a science article that kind of summarizes all this. Other data suggests that people who’ve had natural infection and a dose of the mRNA vaccine have ridiculous antibodies that actually can neutralize a lot of different variants that have been even, you know, kind of engineered in the lab using serum from people who’ve been vaccinated, and have been previously infected, can neutralize those things in a way that naturally infected people can’t, and people who’ve just had vaccine can’t. So in a way, a naturally infected person who gets a single dose of one of these vaccines is like a superstar for immunity. Now, here are all the caveats. We don’t know how long immunity lasts in terms of natural infection or in terms of vaccine infection. We know it declines over time. It just does, right? We don’t know how this type of immunity is going to hold up against future variants, right? But, here’s what we do know. Over time, and again, we don’t know it for sure, but this is what I propose and others have too. Over time, this is going to turn into a common cold. Why, because people are going to get naturally infected. They’re going to be vaccinated. There’s going to be a mix of that. And you’re going to generate population immunity to where you do get reinfected as the antibodies wane, but you don’t get severely sick and die. That’s what happens with colds, you know. Every year, we get reinfected. They are coronaviruses, four of them.
And so, here’s the big picture situation. Stop shaming people who have been infected with COVID and are concerned about being mandated to get a vaccine. I think, if I were doing it and I got natural COVID, I’d want one dose of the vaccine just to be an immunologic superstar and to rapidly promote the transition of this thing to a more endemic common cold, and to protect against possible future variants with better antibody protection. That’s what I would do. And I think it’s reasonable to tell people to do that. Why? Because the vaccine is exceedingly safe. If this were a dangerous vaccine. By the way, 96% of American physicians are vaccinated, okay? Imagine America’s a corporation and the physicians are the insiders, like the CEO class, let’s just say, all right? If you had a company and 96% of your CEOs and executive leadership are buying stock in that company, wouldn’t you think it’s a good idea to buy stock in that company? Well, that’s what doctors are doing with the vaccine, right? And it tells you they’re confident that it’s safe and effective because they’ve looked at it.
Now as you go down in terms of education amount in healthcare, less, and less, and less, and less vaccination rates. And I think there’s multiple reasons for that. One of that is simply education level means you’re able to look at the data primarily and be convinced that it’s safe or not, right? And the less of that you have, the less you’re able to parse information from misinformation. Much harder to do, especially in a politically divided climate. The other reason is other healthcare professionals are crapped on constantly by leadership. They’re put in terrible situations, they’re understaffed, they’re treated like crap. And then when leadership says, hey, go get this vaccine, they’re like, hell no. That’s called being a normal human being. That’s having a normal emotional reactance to being told what to do by people that don’t seem to care about you, all right? So, what I propose is, stop shaming the naturally infected people, stop shaming anyone. I like a single dose for people who’ve been previously infected, but if they don’t want to get that, they’re immune enough to prevent against severe disease and stuff. And we should have some mechanism for them to show that they’ve been previously infected. Antibody testing is not great, but if it’s positive, at least you could say it’s there. If it’s negative, it doesn’t say much. Proof of a previous PCR positive test, maybe even the honor system, guys. Why do I say this? Because look, an unvaccinated person who hasn’t been infected, who lies about it, they’re really the biggest danger they are is to themselves. Yeah, they could infect others, they could infect vaccinated people, but at a lower rate. So, you’re only hurting yourself really, and less, to a lesser degree other people.
So, I think if we brought trust back, if we brought dialogue back, if we de-politicized this nonsense, if we stopped denying science. The same people who say follow the science just ignore the fact that there’s this huge community of naturally infected people that are largely immune, and we don’t want to credit that. And on top of that, we need to understand that this is already happening. Delta is going to start to come down pretty dramatically. We’ve done pieces on this. Because of the combination of vaccinated people, people who’ve gotten natural infection. and people who’ve gotten vaccinated and natural infection. Now, if all of us had some version of immunity, get vaccinated if you’ve never been infected, do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop talking about it. Stop worrying about it. Stop being all butthurt because somebody politically tried to shame you. You’re better than that. Don’t listen to those lefty lunatics. Don’t listen to the righty nut jobs. Just do what’s right for you, and for the vast majority of people, it’s, if you haven’t been infected, get the vaccine. If you have been infected, I’d say, hey, breathe a sigh of relief, ’cause you’re good no matter what you choose, but I’d still say get at least one dose, probably just one dose of the vaccine. We need to change policies around that, okay?
The third thing, if you haven’t been infected and you think, well, I’ll just get naturally infected because the immunity’s stronger, you’re out of your mind, period. You are playing a dangerous game. This isn’t a chicken pox party, kids. Even those can be dangerous. Kids can get encephalitis from chicken pox. That’s why we have a vaccine. In the pre-vaccine era for chicken pox, where every kid was pretty much naturally infected, which by the way, provides sterilizing immunity, right? It’s really good immunity. 10,000 kids would be hospitalized every year with chickenpox-related complications. If you allow natural COVID to just sweep through a population, you’ll get immunity at a tremendous cost, a tremendous cost. So, that’s why you can’t say, oh, natural immunity and go, I’m going to go have a COVID party. ‘Cause you’re out of your mind. You just don’t understand risk at all. It’s a terrible idea. Now, younger people, healthier people. Yeah, maybe they think they can roll the dice with that, unless you’re one of those people who gets long COVID, or for random reasons gets sick, you have metabolic syndrome you don’t understand, or some other genetic predisposition you don’t understand, you get sick. So why take, why take that risk, right? It just doesn’t, it doesn’t make sense. So, chicken pox parties with COVID are a terrible, terrible idea. So, don’t take anything I’m saying to mean that, all right? So, I think the bottom line is, we know what to do, right?