- A natural infection in itself prevents 65% of people from contracting the virus again
- But two doses of AstraZeneca reduce the risk by 71%, while Pfizer is 80% effective.
- But experts are still divided as to which type of immunity provides the most protection.
Researchers today claimed that COVID vaccines provide better protection than natural immunity.
The exact extent of immunity against the coronavirus is shrouded in mystery.
Some studies have suggested that getting infected naturally provides more protection than any vaccine.
But Britain’s biggest coronavirus symptom-tracking app has now swung in favor of Jabs.
Experts at King’s College London and health-tech firm ZOE that runs the software say natural infection by itself prevents 65 percent of people from catching the virus again.
But two doses of AstraZeneca were found to be slightly better, with an efficacy of about 71 percent. Pfizer was even stronger, with the double-dose course providing about 80 percent protection after six months.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the app, said: ‘Irrespective of which vaccine is administered, this research shows that having a natural COVID infection before double immunization means greater protection.’
Despite the findings, the study also suggested that natural immunity does not subside for at least a year – but protection from vaccines may weaken after only three months.
But experts said other research shows the natural infusion offers similar protection to the Pfizer jab, but is ‘more effective than AstraZeneca’.
Data from ZOE shows that two doses of AstraZeneca (71 per cent) or Pfizer (80 per cent) – the most commonly used vaccines in the UK – are more effective at preventing infection within six months than previous infections. Natural infection provided only 65 percent protection. But those who caught COVID and then were double-pocked with AstraZeneca (90 percent) or Pfizer (94 percent) had the strongest defense against catching the virus.
Experts have previously argued that natural infection is the best way to protect against the virus, especially among young people who only get a single dose.
This has fueled arguments against vaccinating children, who are at much lower risk of becoming seriously unwell from the virus and more likely to suffer from a very rare heart inflammatory side effect called myocarditis.
However, it is difficult to ascertain which option offers the best protection.
Pfizer’s COVID efficacy against infection drops to 20% after six months – but protection against severe disease is barely less, show real-world data from Qatar
Pfizer’s COVID jab is only 20 percent effective at preventing people from becoming infected after six months, real-world data revealed today.
According to Qatari researchers, two doses of the vaccine prevent 80 percent of people from catching the coronavirus after a month.
The findings – based on an analysis of nearly a million people – mirror efficacy estimates pumped out by British health chiefs.
But the study showed that protection gradually declines, falling to only 22.3 percent among those who are fully vaccinated after six months.
Still, scientists emphasize prevention of serious illness and death remains high after half a year, sitting at around the 90 percentage point.
UK ministers have launched a booster campaign amid fears of a vaccine-induced immunity decline after several months. Some 30 million over 50 and NHS workers will be eligible for a third dose six months after their second dose.
British health chiefs stressed that protection against serious illness remains high.
But he opted to go ahead with the booster rollout in winter to keep immunity levels high in the most vulnerable.
Qatar began its vaccine rollout plan last December using Pfizer Vaccine – giving doses three weeks apart. It then began pulling out a similar jab at Moderna in March.
While it is known whether one has received the vaccine or not, millions of people have been diagnosed with COVID without being tested, making it difficult to accurately calculate protection.
One study found that natural immunity could provide 13 times more protection against infection than two doses of Pfizer vaccine.
The ZOE team noted that the vaccine’s effectiveness does not necessarily decrease after six months, but they do not have data beyond this time frame.
But those who caught COVID and then were double-pocked with AstraZeneca (90 percent) or Pfizer (94 percent) had the strongest defense against catching the virus.
The researchers did not compare the protection provided by a single dose of each vaccine with that of natural infection.
The findings, based on real-world data from more than a million vaccinated Britons and test results between May and July, also found that the immune response to an infection lasted up to 15 months.
During this, Vaccine protection begins to decline after three months zoi data.
Researchers said this means that people who have caught Covid are ‘likely to maintain a higher level of protection from Covid than those who were not infected’ before being vaccinated.
Professor Spector said: ‘This is really positive news for overall immunity levels in the UK and it means that a large number of people will have effective and long-term protection from COVID.
‘It also has strong evidence to support the need for vaccination, even for people who already have COVID.’
Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline that the data is a “meaningful confirmation” of studies that have already shown infection increases the safety of the vaccine.
He said: ‘You can think of a natural infection like a booster vaccination.’
As the virus becomes endemic, people will likely become infected again and again every few years, he said.
Professor Hunter said: ‘The latest evidence for Delta suggests that natural infusions are as effective as Pfizer but more effective than AstraZeneca.’