In response to recent vaccination push pieces
To the Editor,
Interesting facts on COVID-19 vaccinations:
Israel has led the world in vaccinating the highest percentage of adults. In a recent study done in Israel comparing the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine to prevent a coronavirus infection with the immunity provided by a previous COVID-19 infection, the authors concluded that it was unnecessary to vaccinate individuals with a prior covid infection. The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in the study was 92.8 percent compared to the naturally acquired immunity of 94 percent. This seems entirely rational that the immunity acquired from fighting off an actual COVID-19 infection would be greater than that provided by a vaccine prepared from one portion of the vaccine.
Goldberg Y, et al. Protection of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection is similar to that of BNT162b2 vaccine protection: A three-month nationwide experience from Israel.
While it is true that we don’t know how long naturally acquired immunity lasts, it is equally true that we don’t know how long the immunity provided by a vaccine will last. A study done as a collaboration between Duke University and the National University of Singapore found that the immunity provided by a previous infection to SARS-Cov1 in the 2003 outbreak provided immunity to the current SARS-Cov2 virus. This immunity lasted 17 years. The antibodies had long disappeared, but the long term immunity provided by T cells and B cells in the immune system were able to fight off the infection due to the new coronavirus. It is likely that naturally acquired immunity to the Covid-19 virus will last just as long for most people with intact immune systems.
According to Statista there have been 277 deaths among 0-17 year old Amercans due to COVID-19. Assume that all these deaths were actually due to COVID-19 rather than deaths that occurred despite having COVID-19 such as a car accident. Using CDC data from 2018 and the 0-14 year old age groups there were 5,230 deaths due to congenital abnormalites(birth defects), 1,169 deaths from cancer, 642 homicides, 596 suicide deaths, 284 deaths from heart disease, and 244 deaths from influenza and pneumonia. Given the rare hospitalization and death rates for these juveniles, why exactly are they required to wear masks? Why are their extracurricular activities limited? And why is there a push to vaccinate them? The rates of death for college age people due to covid are small compared to many other common causes of death as well. No, they shouldn’t be required to be vaccinated against covid to attend college either.