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Natural vs Vax Immunity Comes to the Fore With Omicron

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Syringes containing a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are viewed at a clinic targeting Central American Indigenous residents at CIELO, an Indigenous rights organization, on Apr... LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Syringes containing a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are viewed at a clinic targeting Central American Indigenous residents at CIELO, an Indigenous rights organization, on April 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. CIELO launched an outreach campaign for vaccinations to address language barriers, accessibility, mistrust of government and misinformation among Mexican and Guatemalan Indigenous residents. They have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic with many losing work in the hospitality industry. St. John's Well Child and Family Center is administering COVID-19 vaccines across South L.A. in a broad effort to bring vaccines to minority communities. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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December 3, 2021 3:14 p.m.

In recent months there’s been a lively debate and a number of contending studies over whether ‘natural’ or vaccinated immunity provides superior protection against COVID. This is important information to know for a number of reasons. But in the public conversation it’s largely become a cudgel in arguments about vaccine mandates – people insisting vaccine mandates shouldn’t apply to them because of the immunity they got from being sick with COVID is just as good. There are many problems with that argument – the most important of which is that every expert I’ve heard from seems to agree that getting vaccinated gives you added protection regardless of whether you’ve had COVID. Meanwhile, in public health terms, it’s nearly impossible to litigate at scale who has had COVID and who hasn’t. But setting that debate aside, the advent of Omicron may be pushing this issue to center stage in a new way.

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