Is natural immunity better than vaccine immunity?

No, “natural immunity” - the immunity gained from a prior COVID infection - is not better than immunity from a vaccine. The immunity from vaccines offers better protection from future COVID infection than the immunity gained from prior COVID disease.  We have real world data to show that people who have had COVID but did not get vaccinated were over 2 times more likely to get COVID than people who had been fully vaccinated.

Why is this the case? The vaccine produces a predictable immune response and antibody levels while people who have had COVID infection have variable immune responses.  A good analogy for this from Dr. Kimberly Manning is washing dishes in a dishwasher versus having a teenager wash them.  The dishwasher works the same every time whereas the teenager may have a range of results.

Last update: September 24, 2021 2:43pm ET

Science review: SKB, HAY