Headline: Vaccine x5 better than natural infection!
Headline: “Vaccine 5x more likely to protect against COVID-19 hospitalization than previous infection alone, CDC reports”
And when you read it there is nothing related to a study or even a suggestion that the headline is true.
This passes for news? This is nothing less than propaganda.
That CDC study has already been debunked.
The poor quality of the CDC study was critiqued by a former Harvard University Biostatistician. He noted:
How effective is immunity after Covid recovery relative to vaccination? An Israeli study by Gazit et al. found that the vaccinated have a 27 times higher risk of symptomatic infection than the Covid recovered. At the same time, the vaccinated were nine times more likely to be hospitalized for Covid. In contrast, a CDC study by Bozio et al. claims that the Covid recovered are five times more likely to be hospitalized for Covid than the vaccinated. Both studies cannot be right.
I have worked on vaccine epidemiology since I joined the Harvard faculty almost two decades ago as a biostatistician. I have never before seen such a large discrepancy between studies that are supposed to answer the same question. In this article, I carefully dissect both studies, describe how the analyses differ, and explain why the Israeli study is more reliable.
Basically, this critique noted that the CDC study was fundamentally flawed. It looked at people who were hospitalized with “covid like” symptoms. Note that difference – not “hospitalized with Covid 19” but with “covid like” symptoms. That was the base characteristic of the entire sample. The critique noted that that base characteristic of the sample invalidated the conclusion of the study.
We are not looking for stats on who has “covid like” symptoms. We are looking to see (as between the vaccinated and the naturally recovered) who is more likely to contract covid 19. The basic premise of the study is wrong. If you wanted to compare the number of hospitalized people were vaccinated against the how many hospitalized people had natural immunity then limit the study to a comparison of those two categories. That is what the Israeli study did.
So why did the CDC’s sample population include all those hospitalized with Covid-like symptoms.
The reason is that adding all those with Covid-like symptoms would make the vaccines look more effective than they actually were. It would also make natural immunity look less effective than it actually it actually is.
Here is how that works.
A group who has “covid like” symptoms is more likely to contain two subgroups of people.
One subgroup are those who actually have covid 19.
The second subgroup doesn’t have covid 19 but contains those who are ill with similar symptoms.
Why was that second group included in the study?
Importantly, that second subgroup is more likely to consist of unhealthy people susceptible to respiratory illnesses which would not hospitalize healthy people. And, even more importantly, that group of unhealthy people would be more likely to be vaccinated and less likely to be actively engaged in day to day activities that would expose them to Covid 19.
Thus, by experimental design the study included more vaccinated people who were less likely to be exposed to Covid 19.
The opposite is true with those recovered and unvaccinated who were later hospitalized for Covid 19. People who are unvaccinated tend to younger and healthier are more likely to be more active. They are more likely to be exposed to Covid 19.
Thus, again, by experimental design the naturally immune cohort of unvaccinated in this study is more likely to be exposed to Covid 19.
And that underlines the basic flaw in the study.
The unhealthy people (especially the elderly) are more likely to be vaccinated, less likely to be exposed. Healthy people with natural immunity are more active and more likely to be exposed to Covid 19.
That means that the study by its very design contains high numbers of people who are hospitalized and vaccinated, but were not necessarily exposed to Covid 19.
But the study concludes that the low rate of Covid 19 in that group is proof that the vaccines work, when really it is just an artifact of the study’s design.
The study was designed to make it look like vaccination protected against Covid 19 better than natural immunity, when in fact it did not. It just showed that people who were unhealthy were more likely to be 1) vaccinated and 2) end up in the hospital with covid like symptoms – but not have Covid 19.
That is irrelevant to the protection given by natural immunity to Covid 19.
That is not all.
A second flaw in the study should also be noted. The study defined “vaccinated” as those who had been vaccinated within 180 days.
Why? Why that limitation to within 180 days?
The reason is that vaccine efficacy is known to fail after 180 days. Thus the study tried to paint vaccines in the best possible light. And it does not take into account time based vaccine failure.
That type of time based vaccine failure applies less to natural immunity which is more robust and longer lasting. Natural immunity is more longer lasting for the following reasons.
The immunity of the vaccine is produced by antibodies directed to one part of the virus and one part only – the spike protein. Natural immunity, on the other hand, is produced by antibodies to the spike protein and, additionally, antibodies to the nucleocapsid (the membrane enclosing the actual virus). Coronaviruses are fast mutators. And if there is a mutation changing the spike protein, the vaccine immunity is useless. That is not true of natural immunity since the antibodies are not just to the spike protein but also to the various parts of the nucleocapsid. Simple logic dictates that the broader scope of protection given by natural immunity would be more durable and longer lasting.
The entire study seemed to be “engineered” to produce a result in favor of vaccination.
Now look at the Israeli study by comparison. Here, the biostatistician mentioned above describes the study:
In the Israeli study, the researchers tracked 673,676 vaccinated people who they knew not to have had Covid and 62,833 unvaccinated Covid-recovered individuals. A simple comparison of the rates of subsequent Covid in these two groups would be misleading. The vaccinated are likely older and, hence, more prone to have symptomatic disease, giving the Covid recovered group an unfair advantage. At the same time, the typical vaccinated patient received the vaccine long after the typical Covid-recovered patient got sick. Most Covid recovered patients got the infection before the vaccine was even available. Because immunity wanes over time, this fact would give an unfair advantage to the vaccinated group.
To make a fair and unbiased comparison, researchers must match patients from the two groups on age and time since vaccination/disease. That is precisely what the study authors did, matching also on gender and geographical location.
For the primary analysis, the study authors identified a cohort with 16,215 individuals who had recovered from Covid and 16,215 matched individuals who were vaccinated. The authors followed these cohorts over time to determine how many had a subsequent symptomatic Covid disease diagnosis.
Ultimately, 191 patients in the vaccinated group and 8 in the Covid recovered group got symptomatic Covid disease. These numbers mean that the vaccinated were 191/8=23 times more likely to have subsequent symptomatic disease than the Covid recovered. After adjusting the statistical analysis for comorbidities in a logistic regression analysis, the authors measured a relative risk of 27 with a 95% confidence interval between 13 and 57 times more likely for the vaccinated.
The study also looked at Covid hospitalizations; eight were in the vaccinated group, and one among the Covid recovered. These numbers imply a relative risk of 8 (95% CI: 1-65). There were no deaths in either group, showing that both the vaccine and natural immunity provide excellent protection against mortality.
This is a straightforward and well-conducted epidemiological cohort study that is easy to understand and interpret.
That is what an unbiased study looks like.
That Israeli study was not surprising. There are over 100 studies confirming the superiority of natural infection over vaccination.
The real significance of the CDC study is practical.
I now no longer trust the CDC nor the studies it produces.
The way I read this is that it compares natural immunity (by itself) vs. natural immunity first + COVID vaccine. So the statement might be true.
I have seen data that suggests this is true: natural immunity followed by Covid shot does give slightly better protection.
However, the “5x” headline plays into people not understanding data and statistics. I’m making up numbers just to demonstrate:
- Let’s say your natural immunity gives you the risk of getting Covid at 0.010%.
- Natural immunity + Covid shot would improve the risk to 0.002%, 5X better.
The absolute difference is very small (0.008% improvement). Both provide great relative protection, but natural immunity is free of side effects.
I don’t think that the CDC study said that.
I believe that you are referring one part of the Israeli study. The Israeli study had three exposure groups (1. “natural immunity,” 2.”vaccine immunity” and 3.”natural immunity plus the vaccine”.) The Israeli study said that”natural immunity plus the vaccine” was slightly better than “natural immunity” alone. But the Israeli study also noted that “natural immunity” was far superior to “vaccine immunity alone.”
Here is the conclusion from the Israeli study:
Conclusions This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.
By contrast, there were only two exposure groups in the CDC study.
In replying just to the subject line –
“Yes, perhaps. But neither one is good”.
Yes, I meant to refer to the Israeli study. You are right that the CDC study didn’t talk about this.
I don’t recall exactly what the improvement in the Israeli Study was from just natural immunity to natural immunity + vaccine. It was a small absolute difference, but on a relative basis, it could have been “5x”, even though it wouldn’t mean much.
I just wanted to point out that the sloppily written headline is technically correct, because the “alone” at the end of the sentence implies comparing infection (natural immunity alone) to infection + vaccine (i.e. not alone).
“Vaccine 5x more likely to protect against COVID-19 hospitalization than previous infection alone“
Its a joke , its embarrassing that they try to peddle this crap, 5x vaccine better than natural immunity ” Don’t tell this shit to an intelligent person. Luckily for them, most people are dumb as bricks. Not sure we should be saving them. Problem is their obedience enables them to commit crimes and kill all of us.
The truth is that the vaccine damaged are immunoincompetent – The all have AIDS. This is not only well documented in other studies, where one who vaccinates is actually more at risk for novel diseases they are naive to, but also with COVID vaccines, they are actually at risk more for COVID than even a unvaccinated , uninfected person with no previous exposure. ( this is now documented ) So, let people think that , and then when they become sick and hospitalized compared to their unvaxxed friend , the will learn via experience the truth.