DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Why vaccination immunity is better than innate immunity

Two years have passed since Covid-19 erupted on the global stage, disrupting our lives and killing more than 5.5 million people worldwide.

And it’s been just over a year since the British coronavirus vaccination program began, which saved more than 100,000 lives and also prevented countless others from ending up in the hospital and suffering long-term damage from Covid.

And yet there are still about five million people in the UK who have chosen not to get vaccinated. Many seem convinced that they are either not at risk or that they will be saved by “natural” immunity.

People like Unvaccinated Counselor Dr Steve James, who made headlines last week when he confronted Health Secretary Sajid Javid over the government’s decision to make vaccinations against Covid by April a condition of working in front of the NHS.

It's been just over a year since a coronavirus vaccination program was launched in the United Kingdom, which saved more than 100,000 lives and also prevented countless others from ending up in the hospital and suffering long-term damage from Covid.

It’s been just over a year since a coronavirus vaccination program was launched in the United Kingdom, which saved more than 100,000 lives and also prevented countless others from ending up in the hospital and suffering long-term damage from Covid.

Indeed, there are tens of thousands of unvaccinated front-line NHS workers who now have less than three weeks to receive the first injection they must have by February 3 if they are to be vaccinated twice by the April government deadline. . 1.

Dr James protested against mandatory vaccines against Covid, although he and other doctors working with vulnerable patients in the NHS already had to prove to their hospital trust that they had been vaccinated against hepatitis, an unpleasant and highly infectious virus. (though not as infectious as Covid).

Dr. James claimed that “science is not strong enough” and that he did not need a vaccine because he had antibodies, indicating that he had acquired some “natural” immunity through infection.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic used a similar argument to get to Australia – he demanded an exemption on the grounds that he had Covid in December and would therefore be protected by his antibodies.

The problem with this argument is that, first, unvaccinated and non-boosted make up the majority of patients in the intensive care unit. And second, just because you have antibodies to the previous Covid strain doesn’t mean you’re protected from being caught or spread to more vulnerable people, such as cancer patients or pregnant women.

A study published in December by researchers at Imperial College London concluded that protection against Omicron, if you had a Covid infection before, “may be as much as 19 percent.” The vaccine course – double dose plus revaccination – on the other hand, offers something like 75% protection.

why the difference? Our immune system seems to be learning very well from experience. The more often your immune system is infected with a virus (or a vaccine that mimics that virus), the better it will be.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic used a similar argument to get to Australia - claiming an exemption on the grounds that he had Covid in December and would therefore be protected by his antibodies.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic used a similar argument to get to Australia – he demanded an exemption on the grounds that he had Covid in December and would therefore be protected by his antibodies.

When your immune system first encounters the virus, it is not entirely sure how to respond, and it takes a long time to start building an effective response. While this is happening, the virus is busy replicating, spreading and damaging.

If you are lucky, your immune system will start working and you will recover from a trivial disease. If you’re unlucky, you’ll end up in the hospital, maybe in the intensive care unit. The idea of ​​the vaccine is to give your immune system an incentive to start working long before you are exposed to the real thing.

The reason for the second and even third stabbing is that it will strengthen and refine your immune response to protect you and others in the future.

Multiple exposures seem to be particularly effective in nurturing your T-cells, the immune cells responsible for finding and killing the dangerous viruses that are vital to granting long-term immunity. T-cells also appear to be much better than antibodies in detecting and destroying new Covid variants.

And that’s what matters, because one of the main reasons for getting vaccinated for me is that it’s protecting others – especially the vulnerable – who can’t have a sting.

We know that people who are vaccinated carry less strain on the virus and remove it from their body faster, so they are much less likely to pass it on. Of course, vaccines can have side effects and are not 100% effective. One critic of the covid vaccines is that despite threefold injections, you can still become infected and ill.

This is true, although you are much less likely to become seriously ill than if you were completely unprotected. And the consolation is that you can now have “super immunity.” In a study by the Center for Virology and Vaccines in Boston, USA, researchers tested the blood of people who caught Covid after a double vaccination.

They now had a 30-fold increase in antibody levels and a 4-fold increase in T-cell levels compared to patients who were vaccinated and who did not receive Covid; which is a good sign for future encounters with the virus.

And it seems to work the other way around. Before Christmas, I wrote in this column that I told an unvaccinated friend that I did not want her to come to a social gathering because of the risk she posed.

Since then, she and her husband have contracted Covid. And I still suggest, when she recovers, she might consider a sting.

This is because studies have shown that people who have the vaccine after being infected produce much higher levels of antibodies and T-cells than those who, like Novak Djokovic and Dr. James, rely only on “natural” immunity.

I’m optimistic we have Covid on the run. But I’m also convinced that it will happen faster and with less disruption as soon as people who are hesitant to get vaccinated realize the benefits of pricking.

Some people who oppose the compulsory vaccination of NHS staff suggest that we could test people for antibodies to Covid-19, and if they have them, it would mean that they can work safely. But just because you have antibodies doesn’t mean you can’t infect others or get infected. That is why regulators such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend that antibody tests should not currently be used to assess the level of immunity or protection of a person against Covid infection.

Being a little deceptive to you can actually be good!

As a natural pessimist, I’ve worked hard to look at the better side of life and believe that things will work because I know it’s good for me: optimists tend to live longer, be healthier and sleep better.

My wife Clare is optimistic and annoyed that she refuses to share some of my more negative predictions about the future. Sometimes I wonder if her optimism is not a form of self-deception.

If so, she is not alone. According to researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, self-deception is very common. In a recent article in the journal Philosophical Psychology, they describe the various techniques we use to protect our fragile ego from the harsh realities of life. Many of these techniques, I must admit, I acknowledge.

First, it is a “reorganization of beliefs.” An example of this is parents who believe that their child is a genius and put bad grades on teachers. Another technique, if you are determined to stick to your beliefs, is to avoid anywhere where those beliefs could be challenged. And if they are questioned, why not simply deny what you have been told by questioning the credibility of the source?

Finally, you can tweak things you don’t want to hear. Your doctor may have told you that you are in good shape, but that you could lose weight. All you hear is, ‘You’re in good shape.’

Depends on? In many circumstances, a little self-deception can be a good thing.

There is evidence that people who put things are happier and more popular than those who are more realistic. And as for loved ones, a 1998 New York State University study found that the stronger the couple’s illusions about each other, the more likely the relationship is to survive.

The fact that I think Clare is as nice as when we first met can be a delusion, but it’s one that makes us both happy.

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