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COVID infection vs. COVID vaccine: Which protects you longer?

New research suggests antibodies from infection last longer than antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine

SHARE COVID infection vs. COVID vaccine: Which protects you longer?
This 2020 electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab.

NIAID-RML via Associated Press

A new study suggests that antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine fade faster than antibodies created by COVID-19 infection, Reuters reports.

Doctors at one of the biggest health centers in Israel found that protective antibody levels drop among those who received the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer faster than they do in COVID-19 survivors, according to Reuters.

  • roAntibody levels dropped 40% per month by vaccinated people.
  • But antibodies levels drop 5% per month for the COVID-19 survivors.
  • After six months, 84% of vaccinated people still had some level of antibodies. But 90% of unvaccinated COVID-19 survivors still had some levels of antibodies (it’s unclear how much).

The researchers suggest COVID-19 protection wanes faster from the vaccine than natural infection.

Recent real-world U.K. data suggests that people were best protected against the coronavirus when they got the COVID-19 vaccine. However, protection from the delta variant “was higher when people had previously caught COVID-19” after they had been vaccinated, too, the researchers said. This applies to those who were infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic and then later got fully vaccinated.

  • That said, the researchers said it would be “completely irresponsible” for people to purposefully get COVID-19 after they’ve gotten vaccinated since they can still end up hospitalized. the study’s lead author Sarah Walker told Business Insider.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans did not experience a breakthrough COVID-19 case that led to hospitalization or death, as I wrote for the Deseret News.