The term “natural immunity” is misleading and inaccurate, and would be better replaced by “hybrid immunity,” the immune response triggered by recovery from the novel coronavirus “plus at least one MRNA vaccine,” writes Dr. Marc Siegel in an op-ed for The Hill.
Dangerously inaccurate: “Vaccines are ‘natural’ too,” Siegel writes. “The problem with using the term ‘natural immunity’ … at the expense of vaccinated and boosted immunity is that it may encourage people to believe they have already had COVID even if they really didn’t. You can check people who feel they were infected for COVID antibodies, but this test can’t be used to reliably track either infection or immunity after infection.”
“Vaccinated immunity”: A recent study from Israel showed a 90% decrease in deaths among those who got Pfizer boosters. Other studies have shown significant decreases in both severity and risk of contracting COVID-19 among those who received boosters.
- Boosters largely protect people from the COVID-19 omicron variant, according to early data from the U.K.
- Reinfection from omicron is increasing among both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, making the extra protection from a vaccine even more crucial.
The last word: “Studies show that [‘hybrid immunity’] may be the most substantial, and it makes sense—think of a hybrid car. The gas engine is COVID recovery, and the big battery is vaccine-induced immunity. They work together well; the ‘mileage’ is better.”