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Natural immunity against COVID isn't as beneficial as getting the vaccine: doctor

A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Natural immunity has been a hot topic of conversation since researchers in Israel released a study in August comparing those who were vaccinated and those who had recovered from COVID.

The researchers of the study concluded that natural immunity post-COVID gave longer-lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization.

But one Mayo Clinic doctor and expert in plasma and antibodies – which fight against viruses like COVID – disagrees.

As he explains it, when someone is exposed for the first time to either an infection or a vaccine, your body’s immune system responds quickly but it doesn’t last. Therefore, a second vaccination is needed to create long-term immunity.

“When you get exposed to the same antigen again, you get a more profound response generation of long-lived memory cells, which can last decades,” said Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, a hematologist and oncologist at Mayo Clinic.

“Your durability of immunity, the height of immunity, the more sensitive immunities, specific immunity, everything goes up. And when someone’s had COVID they’ve had the primary response.”


Rajkumar says that natural immunity from catching COVID is less durable and foolproof than getting a double vaccine and a booster shot, especially as the virus mutates and becomes more contagious and aggressive.

“It causes deaths. Not only deaths but also long-term complications. Just being in the hospital, and all of the psychological consequences and being on oxygen after you get out of the hospital – all of these are problems,” he explained.

“So I wouldn’t recommend anybody trying to acquire natural immunity by getting COVID.”

In Alberta, 14.4 per cent of the eligible population have not gotten their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Last month, CityNews reported on a group of people who attended a party with the intention of catching COVID in Edson.


In total, 15 COVID deaths have been reported in the small Alberta town as of Oct. 14. It’s unknown how many deaths were connected to the party.

Back in September, Premier Jason Kenney was asked if green passes for natural immunity would be introduced in Alberta like they were in Israel.

“I have asked if we could look into incorporating that in the future into our own Restrictions Exemption Program but right now it’s not feasible – we needed to move forward urgently with our system.”