I have a bias. I believe that we live our healthiest life when we do it as naturally as humanly possible. I am driven to always seek a natural path for myself and clinically for all of you as we pursue better health, longevity, performance and immunity. Natural immunity?
Following my prior article, I received a number of replies and inquiries about the vaccine I took for the protein spike that we call SARS-CoV-2. I took the J&J Vaccine one and done. Readers questioned whether I was endorsing the vaccine for all? Or “Why didn’t I choose natural immunity?” “Should someone who had COVID should get the vaccine?” I even received a note from someone this week saying “Am I sorry I did that vaccine now?”
Allow me to unpack some of this.
Natural Immunity is better. This is my bias and my opinion, but the evidence leans this way too.
Vaccine Immunity: The vaccines have been out for only four months and appear to be markedly effective at reducing hospitalizations and severe illness from COVID and for those who get a positive viral test after being vaccinated, their viral counts are substantially lower than in unvaccinated thereby presumably lowering contagiousness. [The Pfizer execs are waxing today (4/16/21) on the news stating that an annual booster dose is likely necessary. This is wildly premature to speculate in my opinion and reeks of corporate opportunism.]
Natural Immunity: A good study was completed and reported upon in February 2021. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6529/eabf4063
They concluded that 95% of subjects retained immune memory at 6 to 8 months after infection. Yet circulating antibody titers were not predictive of T cell memory, therefore, simple serological tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies do not reflect the richness and durability of immune memory to SARS-CoV-2.
Take Home #1 – Antibody titers will not work for foreign travel as they do not reflect durable immunity. So much for those antibody passports we were wishing for last year.
Take home #2 – From all I have read, durability of natural
immunity will rock long past a year. I look toward the first SARS virus that
moved through Asia from 2002-2003. Research done in 2020 on people that had
recovered from the first SARS virus carried durable immune cells after
seventeen years. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/health/coronavirus-immunity.html
The articles about this virus make the leap that this is good news for vaccine
manufacturers, , but remember, there was never a vaccine for SARS-CoV in early
2000’s so all the immunity we see today, almost twenty years later, is from “natural
SO why didn’t I choose natural immunity? I hoped. I was exposed to my son who had a positive test and I am fortunate to have a basis of health that statistically would have been moderately inconvenienced by the virus if at all. But I just would not test positive. Damn. I got the vaccine to be able to “move about the cabin” so to speak. My mother lives in a group setting with fifteen other women aged from mid-seventies to late nineties. The only way I can go into her house is to have the vaccine. I view this like traveling to a country that requires certain immunizations for a travel visa.
For example, Iceland opened up option for travelers who have “proof of a prior COVID-19 infection with a PCR test over 14 days old” or “Those presenting a valid full vaccination certificate with an approved vaccine against COVID-19.”
Did I feel at risk for using a vaccine that is now on pause? Of 70 million doses administered, the J&J vaccine resulted in 7 cases of rare blood clots in women aged 18-49. I know they did the right thing to pause administration– as this side effect number is likely higher in the real world – and these were side effects in people that are not high risk for disease that we know of. The vaccine kicked me I’ll admit, but I view the vaccine like if I were to get COVID, I am not statistically at risk.
Back to natural immunity…why is there so little recognition in the US? I don’t know. I think we are blinded by the vaccine as the ‘way out” forgetting that every COVID case that occurs and results in recovery and avoids becoming a super spreader is a success.
Did you hear that? A positive case of COVID can be seen as a success. We have to get this.
Our goal is to reach a herd immunity and that DOES and MUST include natural immunity. And now that the higher risk individuals of all ages have the option to vaccinate, the guilt-laden narrative of little Billy bringing the virus home and killing grandma can go. Good riddance.
DO ALL KIDS NEED THE VACCINE. H#** NO.
IT remains true that younger people, under the 18 are remarkably unaffected by this virus. Please, don’t attack. I now there have been some deaths. But in the past 16 months there have been 259 deaths in this age group. Seasonal flu during this period took 180 and pneumonia 677.
So if I am vaccinated as an adult, we can let kids go to school! We must acknowledge natural immunity for what it is, safe and effective for some.
If I have had COVID, should I get the vaccine?
I do not see any scientific reason in all my digging that supports doing this. My son had a positive COVID test and I will work to block any attempt that requires him to get a vaccine. I did have him keep a copy of his prior positive PCR test as proof of prior infection in hopes that other countries and institutions recognize the science that supports the durable immunity that brings. I hope others follow Iceland’s lead.H