Hybrid Immunity Beats Natural / Vaccine Immunity Alone!

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Did an Estonian study just prove that natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity?!

Take a look at the viral claims, and find out why hybrid immunity offers even better protection!


Claim : Natural Immunity Is Better Than Vaccine Immunity!

Anti-vaccine activists are sharing and/or promoting an article by The Epoch Times, as evidence that natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity!

Here is an excerpt from that article by The Epoch Times:

Natural Immunity Better Than Protection From COVID-19 Vaccination: Study

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Hybrid Immunity Is Better Than Natural / Vaccine Immunity!

Let’s take a closer look at these claims about natural immunity being better than vaccine immunity, and show you why hybrid immunity is even better!

Fact #1 : Study Looked At Hybrid Immunity Too

First, I should point out that the Estonian study by Uusküla et. al. (link) did not just look at natural immunity vs. vaccine immunity against COVID-19.

It also looked at hybrid immunity, which is protection gained from a combination of COVID-19 vaccination, and a prior COVID-19 infection.

Fact #2 : Hybrid Immunity Was Superior To Natural Immunity

The Uusküla et. al. study showed that hybrid immunity was the best – offering much greater protection against infection and hospitalisation than natural immunity.

During the Delta-dominated period, hybrid immunity offered greater protection against new and severe infections than natural immunity. This effect was not sustained during the Omicron period. Irrespective of the infection-causing variant, the protective effect of hybrid immunity in preventing infection progression to severe COVID-19 significantly exceeded that of natural immunity (although the absolute numbers of hospitalizations in the hybrid immunity subcohort were small).

If there is only one lesson to be taken away from this study – it is that hybrid immunity – a combination of vaccine immunity, and immunity from a prior infection – offers the best protection against COVID-19.

Fact #3 : Vaccine Immunity Did Protect Against Infection

The Uusküla et. al. study also showed that vaccine immunity did protect against COVID-19 infections, albeit not as effectively as natural immunity or hybrid immunity.

Unfortunately, the study did not provide a chart to show the effectiveness of natural, vaccine, and hybrid immunity against hospitalisation. It only provided three charts to show their effectiveness against infection.

To make it easier for you to understand, I combined the three charts into one, and coloured them, so you can better see the difference in protection offered.

As you can clearly see – vaccine immunity did indeed protect against COVID-19 infections. It just wasn’t as effective as natural immunity, or hybrid immunity.

What is clear though is that vaccine immunity helped to boost natural immunity, imparting the best possible protection through hybrid immunity.

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Hybrid Immunity Better Than Natural / Vaccine Immunity!

Fact #4 : Natural Immunity Was Less Effective With Omicron

The Uusküla et. al. study showed that natural immunity generally offers longer-lasting protection against infection and hospitalisation than vaccine immunity. However, that protection isn’t foolproof or always better than vaccine immunity.

The study also showed that people with natural immunity had a 25% increased risk of getting infected during the Omicron period! In comparison, vaccinated people only had a 13% increased risk of getting infected during the same period.

But guess what – hybrid immunity offers the best immunity against COVID-19, with only one case of hospitalisation noted by the study:

Hospitalization due to COVID-19 was extremely rare among those with hybrid immunity (no cases during the Delta period and one case during the Omicron period).

Fact #5 : Natural Immunity Is Not Without Risks

While the Estonian study did show that natural immunity offers superior protection against future COVID-19 infections, it is not without risks.

After all, to gain natural immunity, one must first get infected with COVID-19, and risk getting hospitalised or dying from severe COVID-19.

Early in the pandemic, the case fatality rate for COVID-19 was incredibly high – between 1.7% to 39% (Feb-March 2020). That has fallen to 0.3% in July-August 2020, as the newer COVID-19 variants have evolved to be less virulent.

Those who insisted on gaining immunity through a “natural” COVID-19 infection during the study period would have to accept a significant risk of developing severe COVID-19, and even dying from it. It is only after surviving a COVID-19 infection, do you get that “natural immunity”.

In contrast, vaccine immunity teaches your own immune system to learn how to identify the COVID-19 coronavirus, and build up defences against an infection. That way – you have a better chance of beating off a COVID-19 infection. On top of that – once you beat off a COVID-19 infection after being vaccinated, you gain superior hybrid immunity!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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