Posted by Y Rabinovitz
It’s always reassuring to know that those controlling our lives are doing so only according to the latest scientific advances, guided by the best possible data, and informed by the most up-to-date statistics.
That’s why this new study from December 5, 2021, is so exciting. It analyzes data culled from around six million people – almost an entire country of people, namely, Israel. And the study was authored by a number of top scientists, including two people who are right at the top of the Israeli government’s COVID totem pole. One is Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the director of Public Health Services; the other is Prof. Nachman Ash, former COVID Commissar of Israel and currently the director-general of the Israeli Health Ministry.
The study focuses on two months – August and September of 2021 – and is titled, “Protection and waning of natural and hybrid COVID-19 immunity.” It divides people into five categories: those who have recovered from a bout of COVID and have not been vaccinated; those who have been double-vaxxed; those who have had a booster shot; and also so-called hybrid groups – those who have recovered and were subsequently vaccinated (as per Israeli government policy, which is, currently, to receive one dose only following infection), and those who were vaccinated and subsequently contracted COVID (so-called breakthrough cases).
When we look at the infection rates the study presents, it is immediately obvious that natural immunity is far superior to any protection conferred by vaccination. Even though natural immunity does wane somewhat over time, at a year after recovery from infection, the infection rate is still only 30.2 per 100,000. By way of comparison, the infection rate following vaccination with no prior COVID infection in the first two months after the second shot – when protection is at its absolute highest – is 21.1 per 100,000. By the third and fourth month after the second shot, the rate has already increased to 45.0 per 100,000.
Receiving a booster shot, according to this study, has quite a remarkable effect, causing the infection rate to drop to just 8.2 per 100,000 in the first two months after the third shot. (Due to the time limitations of the study, no further data is available for booster shot recipients.) The data also imply one reason why booster shots are being so aggressively promoted for those who are eligible – just four months after the second dose of a COVID vaccine, infection rates are already up to around 70 per 100,000, almost ten times higher than the comparable rate for those who have recovered from COVID infection without vaccination.
The study also looked at the results of hybrid cases, although the authors failed to draw the obvious conclusions – but they are there, in plain sight. Recovery followed by vaccination apparently confers superior protection to recovery alone (although the difference between the rates is minimal and tends toward the statistically insignificant). However, for people who were first vaccinated and only then contracted COVID, rates of infection are higher than those who recovered from COVID without ever getting vaccinated. In other words, once you’re vaccinated, you lose your chance of attaining the vastly superior immunity conferred by recovering from COVID, even if you do contract the disease at a later point – and most likely, you eventually will. (During the summer of 2021, around 1 in 20 double-vaxxed Israelis did.)
All this may seem a little alarming if you’re vaccinated; however, what we’ve been hearing for months now is that infection rates are really nothing to worry about at all, because the real benefit conferred by vaccination is that it reduces the risk of getting seriously ill from COVID, and possibly dying. But that wasn’t actually what the study found.
“The number of severe cases among infected individuals was relatively small in most cohorts,” the paper states – no surprises here, given what we know about how mild COVID usually is.
There were “25 [cases] among Recovered, 13 among Recovered then Vaccinated, and 5 among Vaccinated then Recovered, 1,372 among the Vaccinated, and 178 among the Booster individuals.”
That looks bad for the vaccinated cohort, but then, these are just numbers, not rates. Let’s look at the rates, focusing (as the study’s authors do) on the age 60-plus cohort, as they are known to be at the greatest risk, by and large.
“The resulting crude rates of severe disease for persons age 60 or older, ignoring the time from the last immunity-conferring event, were 0.6 per 100,000 person days for the Recovered cohort, 0.5 for the Recovered then Vaccinated cohorts, 1.1 for the Vaccinated then Recovered, 4.6 for the Vaccinated cohort, and only 0.4 for the Booster.”
Data for over-60s
No. of serious cases
Rate per 100,000
Recovery + vaccination
Vaccination + recovery
Given the devastating conclusions that can be drawn by anyone approaching these data with an open mind, the study’s authors were timid in the extreme when interpreting the results, writing only that, “Our data on COVID-19 hospitalized patients with severe disease has too few cases for a definitive analysis but does not seem to support a recent report that suggests that vaccinated individuals were more protected than previously infected individuals 3 to 6 months after the immunity-conferring event.”
To sum up:
Assuming that the data for booster shots are accurate (and we only have the first two months of statistics to study), in the best-case scenario, a person who manages to get in all three shots before running up against a COVID infection is marginally more protected against serious illness than someone who was never vaccinated at all.
However, given that it appears that the more shots you get, the more likely it is that you will succumb to that COVID infection when it finds you, it’s a race against the clock, and if COVID catches you before you get that booster shot, good luck.
In light of their findings, Dr. Alroy-Preis and Professor Nachman Ash should have decided to review the expert advice they provide to the Israeli government, and stop promoting COVID vaccination for those lucky enough to still be vaccine-naïve.
Actually, they did not.
What they did conclude in light of their findings, was that “understanding the waning rates after different immunity-conferring events is important for policy making,” and that “protection … wanes over time for both vaccinated and previously infected individuals, and that an additional dose restores protection. Future studies will help determine the optimal timing of that dose.”
Since then, evidently taking these scientific findings to heart, the Israeli government has decided to tighten its COVID regulations as far as the political climate will permit in order to “create an atmosphere that encourages immunization.”
As Professor Galia Rahav, director of the infectious diseases department in Israel’s largest hospital, said last week: “We need to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate…”