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On the vaccine better-than-the-natural-immunity fallacy

By Marc Girardot*

A British friend, recovered from COVID, decided to get vaccinated despite being naturally immune. This is the email he recently sent me:

“Marc I suffered a mild stroke on Wednesday 8 days after taking the Astrazeneca 2nd dose. Since I am a marathon runner I am a very ‘rare case’. I don’t smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history or come into any of the risk categories for blood clots…

You did warn me against taking the second dose and I wished I’d heeded your advice. I’ve taken a totally unnecessary risk with my life and I bitterly regret doing it.”

Contrary to most, Tony was informed; he had been told about the power of natural immunity, about the long – if not lifelong – duration of immunity, of the risk inherent to any medical procedure (yes, vaccination is a medical procedure!), as well as of the rising levels of adverse events. He admitted he hadn’t imagined it could happen to him…

You might have heard people stating that vaccines provide better protection than natural immunity. That’s an interesting way of bending reality. How can a vaccine be more effective at immunisation than the disease it is trying to mimic?

Theoretically, there are several reasons explaining why natural immunity is better than vaccine-induced immunity:

Fewer immune targets: mRNA/DNA vaccines present only a fraction of the virus genetic code (5-10%). For example, they don’t utilise ORF1 highly immunogenic epitopes. Therefore, the immune system will recruit a smaller number of T-cells tapping into a narrower repertoire, consequently with a less effective response. The logic: Imagine you lose a number of key players for a football tournament – you might still win, but it will be harder.

Longer immune trigger time: The smaller number of epitope targets also means that the alarm to the immune system will be delayed. This is a key driver of success in the COVID-19 battle. The wider the target repertoire, the faster the encounter between dendritic cells and identifiable antigens. The logic: Like a party you go to, you can start partying much faster when you have ten friends there than when you have only one. They are just easier to find.

Inappropriate delivery location: The intramuscular delivery of current vaccines unfortunately doesn’t mimic viral penetration and propagation at all. Coronaviruses don’t enter the body via muscles. They do so via the respiratory tract, often infecting cell to cell. Contrary to muscle-delivered vaccines, natural immunity places a strong sentinel force of memory resident cells at the portals of entry and shuts the body entrance to the virus preemptively. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense. The logic: It’s much easier to stop an army coming through a narrow gorge than on the beaches of Normandy.

Recent research confirms this logic. One comparative study in Israel found the protection from severe disease to be 96·4% for Covid-19 recovered individuals but 94.4% for vaccinated ones, and concluded “Our results question the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals.” Another reference comparative study by a team at New York University highlighted a faster, wider and more impactful humoral and cytotoxic reaction in recovered immunity versus vaccine-induced.

There is ample evidence that vaccinating people recovered from COVID doesn’t bring any benefit. It quite possibly does the opposite, because of the risk of building tolerance to elements of the virus translating into reduced immune potency.

Read the full article here.

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