Vaccine-immunity is better than natural-infection-immunity: The vaccine works better than being sick

⭐⭐ BOTTOM LINE: The vaccine works better than getting COVID-19 naturally. The antibody response among people who are vaccinated are HIGHER than getting sick with COVID-19 – meaning the protection will likely last longer. And, you don’t risk being a long-hauler. Get your shot! ⭐⭐

I’ve heard people say “Well, I’ve already had COVID. So I don’t need the vaccine” or “I’d rather get COVID than the vaccine. Both are equally ‘protective’ for immunity” or “Getting COVID naturally build herd immunity”. Whoa, lots of things wrong with those statements. Let me show you the data.

Look at the picture on this post: JAMA (the leading trusted medical journal) published an article that compared the immune response (antibodies) for people who were either sick with COVID-19 or got the vaccine. They specifically looked at NEUTRALIZING antibodies which block virus infection. To me as an epidemiologist, these are the power-antibodies. =)

✅ They also compared the antibody response to the 4 main variants circulating. You’ll see those on the bottom of each Panel in the picture. Do you see those? They are labeled

◾ A.1 (this is the first strain that circulated),

◾ B.1 (one of the next strains that circulated with a slight mutation in the spike protein),

◾ B.1.1.7 (this is the one originally identified in the UK with increased transmission risks), and

◾ N501Y (this one contains mutations in the spike protein found in multiple new strains and is worrisome to scientists. The main question for this is “do the vaccines still work against it?”)

✅ Now, let’s look at the results:

◾ Panel A – This shows the antibody response among people who are actively sick with COVID-19.

◾ Panel B – This shows the antibody response among people who are 32-94 days after being sick with COVID-19.

◾ Panel C – This shows people who were fully vaccinated – 2 weeks after the 2nd dose (in this study, they looked at Moderna).

✅ Main points:

◾ ⭐ Check out those antibodies in Panel C compared to A and B. Wahoo! The antibody response was HIGHER for those vaccinated than getting COVID-19.

◾ ⭐ These antibodies among vaccinated individuals are HIGHER, meaning they will last longer than natural infections.

◾ ⭐ The neutralizing antibodies from the vaccine worked against ALL 4 variants.

◾ I would expect the other authorized vaccines (Pfizer and J&J) to have similar results.

◾ Long COVID (also known as long-haulers) is a real problem for those who get sick with COVID-19. Did you know long-COVID-19 symptoms (which can be quite debilitating and affect every organ of the body) are MOST common among people with mild/moderate infections AND among women in their late 30s-50s with no pre-existing conditions. Dang, y’all. That’s a lot of us out there in the prime of work, career, and family. You probably know someone with long-COVID symptoms, such as brain fog, neurological symptoms, difficulty breathing, aches, etc. Go see the 2nd and 3rd sources for lots of data on long-haul symptoms.

◾ If you’ve already had COVID-19, here’s when the CDC advises getting your vaccine. It depends and, as always, talk with your medical provider.…/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Go get your shot! =)

✅ I hope this can continue to encourage people to get the vaccine. They are safe, effective, and work better than a natural infection AND you don’t risk being a long-hauler.
-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist


JAMA article:

Data on long-hauler symptoms and stats:

Long-haul symptoms among women around 40 with no pre-existing conditions:

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