Study: COVID recovery gave Israelis longer-lasting Delta defense than vaccines

The Times of Israel

Hadassah Ein Kerem team members wearing safety gear as they work in the hospital's coronavirus ward, on August 25, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The variant was 27 times more likely to break through Pfizer protection from January-February and cause symptoms than it was to penetrate natural immunity from the same period

Natural immunity from contracting coronavirus provided Israelis with longer-lasting protection against the Delta variant than two shots of the Pfizer vaccine given early this year, new Israeli research suggests. The study by Maccabi Healthcare Service looked at individuals who had either gotten two shots of the vaccine by the end of February or tested positive for COVID-19 by that time. It compared 46,035 Maccabi members who caught the coronavirus at some point during the pandemic and the same number of double-vaccinated people. People who had two vaccine shots had a six-fold higher chance of getting infected with Delta than patients who hadn’t been vaccinated but previously contracted the coronavirus, according to the research.

“As with other disease, it is much safer to get the vaccine and prevent COVID-19, a disease that puts one at risk of hospitalization, death and long-running after-effects. In the two groups, there were 748 cases of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections, 640 of which were in the vaccinated group and 108 in the previously infected group, which was relying on natural immunity alone. The vaccine-dependent people had a seven-fold higher chance of symptomatic infection, and a 6.7-fold higher chance of being hospitalized. In addition, a sample of 16,215 who were infected during Israel’s third wave in January-February 2021 was compared to an equal number of people vaccinated during that period.

“Individuals who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant,” the study suggested. “”The long-term protection provided by a third dose, recently administered in Israel, is still unknown. Sivan Gazit, deputy head of Maccabi’s research arm, noted that their study is significant for taking a wide time-frame and using a large data sample.

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Source: Nathan Jeffay | Times of Israel

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