No matter where you stand in the debate over COVID-19 vaccines, there’s a study that proves your point and gives you ammunition against the other side of the argument.
It’s no wonder people are confused. Or angry. Or resistant. Or are merely asking whether everybody in the country really needs to be vaccinated and whether it’s fair to exclude from schools, workplaces and restaurants those who aren’t vaccinated.
An Israeli study said that those who had COVID and recovered from it have considerably more protection from the Delta variant than that offered by the Pfizer vaccine.
The study said that’s the way the immune system works: Having suffered the virus, it’s on guard should it confront the virus again. The body remembers the battle and is ready to engage again.
Just to cover the bases here: Nobody is suggesting that you go out and get infected on purpose so you can gain natural immunity. And, yes, the experts say that the vaccines offer stout protection from serious infection and hospitalization for many.
But with natural immunity in mind, it’s fair to ask whether those who’ve had COVID-19 definitely need to be vaccinated and whether they should automatically be excluded from life if they’re not.
And it begs the question as to why natural immunity is hardly being talked about as an anti-pandemic strategy.
Natural immunity is well-established science. Shouldn’t it at least be part of the conversation, especially when a number of fully vaccinated people are getting infected?
Which brings us to an August report from Bloomberg News about the growing concern that vaccinated people may be more susceptible to COVID-19 than originally thought.
Which, on the one hand, buoys those who are opposed to vaccine mandates. Why get the vaccine if it may not work?
But it also strengthens the hand of those who think we should continue to mask up and socially distance. Because we just don’t know how much we can rely on the vaccine.
And there are also reports that the effectiveness of the vaccines wanes over time. Pointing to research done in the United Kingdom, Reuters reported that vaccine protection may begin to fade within six months.
Which, yes, gives ammunition to those who are calling for booster shots to be given. But it also stiffens the spines of those who thought that getting the vaccine was all that would be required of them.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the other day said that 83% of Americans age 16 and older have some kind of immunity from COVID-19 either through prior infection or because they’ve been vaccinated.
The study said that a lot more people likely had been infected than initially thought because they had mild cases or no symptoms and were never tested. They never made it into the infection databases.
Remember back in the early days of the pandemic, when the experts said that we’d be in pretty good shape with 80% immunity, that we’d reach a level of herd protection? Yeah, I remember those days too.
And just let me say: I’m fully vaccinated. I’m not an anti-vaxxer.
If you’re vaccinated and want to get a booster shot, I won’t judge you.
And I won’t look at you funny if you’re not vaccinated. Or if you feel that vaccination is enough and you shouldn’t be compelled to get booster shots.
But nothing about the COVID-19 is plain and simple. There are experts lined up on all sides. There are studies galore.
We’ve been told to “follow the science.” Who knew that the science would go down so many different paths?
Oh, and have you heard of the Mu variant yet?
Tom Wrobleski wrote this for the Staten Island Advance, N.Y.