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Some survivors of COVID-19 even refuse vaccines and even sue for mandates

Some survivors of COVID-19 even refuse vaccines and even sue for mandates

In a historic speech last week, President Joe Biden condemned a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and announced a series of policies aimed at pushing vaccinations to get their COVID-19 shots. His proposal reflected aspects of policies introduced by many state governors, including Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, who has introduced a vaccination mandate in her state for specific workers, including school workers and state workers.

Yet some of those who have already been infected with COVID-19 are crying and refusing vaccination, both over federal and state vaccination requirements for certain workers. For example, six workers in the Oregon state are suing in court, finding that because they have already been sick with COVID-19, they should not be forced to receive inoculations.

These workers in Oregon seek an exception for people with natural immunity and oppose Brown’s vaccine mandates over Bidens. Admittedly, their complaint may seem reasonable to a layman: in the case of many viral infections, including chickenpox, the body becomes immune after clearing an infection.

So is their objection valid? The short answer is probably not, as within the scientific community there is no doubt that the immune system appears to be better protected against the new coronavirus after vaccination, even in those who have cleared a previous infection.

Because we lack the technology to definitively determine each individual’s immunity level after being naturally infected, it is risky to assume that someone will automatically be protected against COVID-19 just because they were originally ill. Studies support this: A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on an observational study in Kentucky found that unvaccinated people were more than twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as vaccinated.

Yet there is considerable scientific debate about degree to which naturally infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus confers immunity.

This brings us to the longer answer, as this is a topic on which respected researchers disagree. Dr. Monica Gandhi, Physician of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Medicine at the University of California – San Francisco, tweeted a number of scientific articles out which in various ways suggest that the immune system may develop natural protection against COVID-19. One paper describes, for example, how certain parts of the immune system (specifically antibodies from B cells, B memory cells and T memory cells) found that “a significant amount of immune memory is generated after COVID-19, involving all four main types of immune memory. “

Of course, even the most optimistic assessments of COVID-19 should take into account the studies that find that antibody-mediated immunity usually declines sharply for people who have recovered from the disease after a few months. New coronaviruses are generally the kind of pathogens to which we are only able to build transient or temporary immunity. The alternative is durable or lasting immunity. This means that instead of being able to make certain judgments about whether someone who has had COVID-19 is safe against it, researchers must admit that they often do not know.

“The most honest thing would be people who say, ‘Look, we recognize that we do not know everything about this disease,'” Dr. Alfred Sommer, dean of emeritus and professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Salon … But he noted that “from a risk perspective, it will not harm you and may help you get vaccinated – even if you have been infected in the past.”

Gandhi reiterated Sommer’s emphasis on the importance of humility.

“I think it gives confidence to acknowledge something that there is still a debate in the scientific community” on some topics related to COVID-19, Gandhi told Salon. There are points where there are no disagreements β€” masks work, ivermectin does not cure COVID-19, people who are infected need social distance β€” but there are others where a robust debate exists. This is to some extent the case when it comes to the benefits of natural immunity.

β€œThe way I want to present it is like a risk-sharing relationship,” Sommer explained. “What is the risk of getting the vaccination? If you already had the disease, essentially zero. What is the potential benefit? It can be huge.” Sommer added that we also know that “if you look at the immune response six months after a natural infection, it is lower than after a vaccination. If you take the people who had a natural infection and give them the vaccine, they all have a very high antibody level. “

Summer also pointed to scientific precedent for getting the naturally infected to be vaccinated. “There is no doubt about almost all vaccines, some vaccines are more than others, the further away you go from the time you either got the infection or the vaccine, the lower your immunity level,” Sommer added. “Some things give you immunity for life, but it’s very rare.”


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An Israeli study showed that point in real time. A large Israeli study showed that the natural immunity developed after being infected with the delta strain of SARS-CoV-2 is more effective than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On the one hand, this would seemingly justify people taking advantage of natural immunity – but if natural immunity alone were sufficient, people could deliberately infect themselves, as they do with chickenpox. Yet it risks killing itself or someone else.

The best way to minimize this risk is to get vaccinated as well. The same study showed that previously infected people who had received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were better protected than people who had developed only natural immunity. Researchers have long agreed that there are benefits to having both natural immunity and vaccine protection.

“It is believed that natural infection is not as protective as the vaccine,” says Dr. Georges Benjamin, CEO of the American Public Health Association, to Salon via email. “However, you can improve the natural infection by also being vaccinated.” This is known as hybrid immunity, Benjamin explained, and it means that vaccination will improve the protection you receive against natural immunity. Getting vaccinated is also the most effective way to prevent re-infection, serious illness and death, much more than just having natural immunity.

According to Biden’s new plan, all employers with more than 100 workers must require either vaccines or weekly tests; all federal workers and all contractors dealing with the federal government must be vaccinated; and all healthcare professionals whose facilities receive Medicare or Medicaid funding must be inoculated. The bid’s policy is expected to apply directly to about 100 million Americans (the nation has about 330 million people) and is also being met with probable threats of lawsuits.

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