COVID-19 vaccination more effective than natural immunity

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In a study from Regenstrief Institute and elsewhere, scientists found that people of all age groups benefited significantly more from vaccination than natural immunity acquired from a previous COVID infection.

The lower death rate of vaccinated individuals was especially impressive for adults ages 60 years or older.

Significantly, the all-cause death and hospital admission rates for vaccinated individuals were 37 percent lower than the rates for those with natural immunity acquired from previous COVID infection.

The rate of ED visits for all causes was 24 percent lower for vaccinated individuals than for the previously infected.

In the study, the team compared the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines versus natural immunity in protecting against death, hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits for any cause, including COVID.

The team says this large population study of the entire state of Indiana should encourage individuals everywhere to get themselves and their children vaccinated and not rely on natural immunity.

While the incidence of COVID infection was higher in vaccine recipients (6.7 percent) than in individuals previously infected (2.9 percent), the vaccine protected against severe disease while natural immunity did not confer the same benefit.

The team says as vaccinated individuals were more likely to actually get COVID than those with natural immunity, the lower death rate of vaccine recipients who develop COVID appears to be due to vaccination and not to a tendency for risk-averse behaviors, such as mask-wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing.

The work confirms that mRNA vaccines have kept people out of the emergency department and the hospital as well as lowered the likelihood of death from any cause. And we saw this pattern in every age group.

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The study was conducted by Analytics Shaun Grannis et al and published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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