Whether natural immunity or vaccines are better than one another “isn’t that material” when it comes to policy discussions, Gottlieb added.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is a Pfizer board member, noted that “natural immunity” gained from a prior COVID-19 infection needs to be included in discussions about policies and mandates.
“The balance of the evidence demonstrates that natural immunity confers a durable protection,” Gottlieb said during a Monday morning TV interview, referring to a landmark new preprint Israeli study that found prior COVID-19 infection confers much more protection against the virus than any vaccine.
“It’s fair to conclude that,” he said.
Although Gottlieb said he would “be careful” about concluding whether natural immunity provides better protection against transmitting the virus, officials “should start assimilating that into our policy discussions.”
“Natural infection confers robust and durable immunity,” he said, citing the Israeli study and others.
However, whether natural immunity or vaccines are better than one another “isn’t that material” when it comes to policy discussions, Gottlieb added.
Last week, researchers from Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University said that individuals who recovered from COVID-19 had superior protection against the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus than those who received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, the most commonly used shot in Israel.
“This analysis demonstrated that natural immunity affords longer-lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease, and hospitalization due to the Delta variant,” the study concluded, noting their findings came from the “largest real-world observational study” in the world. Their study, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, noted outcomes for a period between June 1 and Aug. 14 of this year.
When researchers compared cases of prior infection that occurred between March 2020 and February 2021 with vaccinations between January and February 2021, they found that the vaccinated cohort was 5.96 times more likely to contract the Delta variant and 7.13 times more at risk for symptomatic disease compared to those previously infected.
The results suggest that natural immunity gained from having survived a previous infection of COVID-19 may wane over time against the Delta variant, the authors wrote.
Those vaccinated were at a greater risk of COVID-19-related hospitalizations compared to those who were previously infected, the authors noted. They said that being 60 years of age or older increased the risk of infection and hospitalization.
The authors of the research paper said they only observed protection against the Delta variant and not other strains. Meanwhile, they only observed the Pfizer vaccine and didn’t look at other vaccines or the effects of a booster shot.