Q&A - How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Compare To Natural Immunity? Part 1

Photo: LightRocket via Getty Images

Q&A Of The Day - How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Compare To Natural Immunity? Part 1

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Today’s entry: Dear Brian, I am a big Fan...OK so ....you have stated, "There are two sides to the story and ONE side to the facts..." I need facts... 

  1. Is the natural Immunity better, worse or same...(logic says better)? 
  2. What is the SCIENCE behind the insistence of getting the vax even though one may have had COVID already??
  3. Where is the Research supporting this demand 
  4. Where are the studies examining natural antigen's degradation over time

Brian, THANK YOU for your time and all that you do!!

Bottom Line: Thank you for the kind note and the excellent questions! Let’s dive in. The crux of your questions is based on how the vaccines compare to natural immunity from one having contracted COVID-19. While data is limited and the situation is fluid, accredited information is available. In June, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and carried out by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. At the root of the study is the comparison of natural immunity to the available vaccines in the United States. It’s important to note that the study was concluded right about the time the variants started to take off. The summation of the study was provided by the NIH’s Dr. Francis Collins and provided several compelling notes. Quoting his summary: A key issue as we move closer to ending the pandemic is determining more precisely how long people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, will make neutralizing antibodies against this dangerous coronavirus. Finding the answer is also potentially complicated with new SARS-CoV-2 “variants of concern” appearing around the world that could find ways to evade acquired immunity, increasing the chances of new outbreaks.

Now, a new NIH-supported study shows that the answer to this question will vary based on how an individual’s antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were generated: over the course of a naturally acquired infection or from a COVID-19 vaccine. The new evidence shows that protective antibodies generated in response to an mRNA vaccine will target a broader range of SARS-CoV-2 variants carrying “single letter” changes in a key portion of their spike protein compared to antibodies acquired from an infection.

That might sound like a bit of medical jargon but here’s what that means. Two of the three available vaccines in the United States, the Moderna and Pfizer, are mRNA vaccines. The implication is that those vaccines specifically casted a “wider net” to potentially work more effectively against COVID-19 variants than the non-mRNA vaccines and even natural immunity. In the second part of today’s Q&A I’ll dive into the specific implications and what it might mean in the context of the summer surge in Florida based on the Delta variant.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content