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Dr. Fauci says he doesn’t have a ‘firm answer’ if natural immunity is better than the COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Fauci said it’s time to dive deeper into data about natural immunity

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci finishes his testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee about the status of COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

It’s unclear if natural immunity can stop COVID-19 infection as well as the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Does natural immunity stop COVID-19?

Fauci said on CNN last week that he’s unsure if people who were naturally infected with COVID-19 had a lower risk of contracting the virus compared to those who received the vaccine.

  • “I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that. That’s something that we’re going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response,” Fauci said.

Fauci said it’s possible someone might be infected naturally and then not be as protected as long as someone who got the vaccine.

  • “I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously,” he added.

Is natural immunity stronger than the COVID vaccine?

Scientists have been reviewing how well people with natural immunity respond to COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.

According to NPR, there are a series of newer studies that found that someone can gain “an extraordinarily powerful immune response” to the coronavirus if they’ve been infected naturally and received the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • “One could reasonably predict that these people will be quite well protected against most — and perhaps all of — the SARS-CoV-2 variants that we are likely to see in the foreseeable future,” Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at Rockefeller University who helped lead the research for several of these studies, told NPR.