Covid vaccine

Covid vaccine goalposts change once again

Infection/ vaccine combo now classified as way to ‘super immunity’

With uptake of seasonal booster shots receiving fairly lacklustre enthusiasm, stories in the media have moved a long way from the early days of authorities’ ‘safe and effective’ message.

It is now widely accepted that the vaccines are not as effective as they were originally made out to benor as safe.

Thus a new marketing campaign. Messages now are that immunity conferred by a combination of infection (which it is now accepted comes whether one is vaccinated or not…) and vaccination gives a ‘super immunity’, or rather ‘hybrid immunity’.

Gone are the studies that found natural infection gave a much more robust immune response; now there is a welter of new research to show the advantages of continuing with the vaccination programme (that has not stopped transmission).

In Portugal, where millions of vaccines have had to be destroyed because they reached the end of their shelf life without takers, Lusa news agency reports that “the idea that it is advisable to vaccinate oneself even after being infected with Covid-19 is reinforced, according to a study by the World Health Organisation”.

The study suggests that ‘hybrid immunity (…) remains at very elevated levels even after a year”, says the State news agency. This leads to the “conclusion that this hybrid immunity offers greater protection than that developed by the simple passage of the illness”.

The new study has been based on 26 investigations, says Lusa – and found that after a year with hybrid immunity, a patient has 95% less chance of developing serious forms of the disease that require admission to hospital.

According to the investigations, this percentage falls to 75% with ‘simple immunity’ (unvaccinated people who have been previously infected with Covid).

There is no percentage given for previously uninfected vaccinated people – several hundreds of whom have died from Covid since receiving vaccinations – but investigators claim those with ‘super immunity’ have a 42% chance of not becoming infected again, while those with ‘simple immunity’ have only a 25% chance.

Lusa’s story, repeated verbatim by national media outlets, ends with the reminder that “Covid-19 is considered an international public health emergency since January 30, 2020 and a pandemic since March of the same year”.

Thus the recent good news, from the WHO, suggesting the end of the pandemic was in sight, seems to have gone the way of studies that found natural immunity offered stronger protection than the mRNA vaccines that carry protection of just a few months.

Even more curious, perhaps, is the fact that Lusa carries this story now, in 2023, (leading one to believe it is ‘new’) when a quick search online sees the ‘super immunity’ combo theory dates back almost a year.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com