What's better: immunity after vaccine or immunity after disease? Op-Ed by Ala Tocarciuc

Logically it would be to go on the road, which is shorter, safer, less expensive. And this road is just through vaccination! We don't have alternatives at the moment: we need a collective immunity to this virus!...

The theme of this Op-Ed has been suggested by some life events.

An acquaintance of mine, recently passed through COVID-19, went to Belgium and took the antibody test. The test result showed a number of antibodies above 8000 U/ml.

Another acquaintance of mine, who did not go through the disease but subsequently vaccinated himself with two doses of Pfizer, took the antibody test in Romania. The test result showed a number of antibodies above 2000 U/ml.

We have seen in the public space the figures of 16000 U/ml as a result of the administration of the vaccine.

These examples confirm the creation of collective immunity in both ways: through disease and through vaccination.

Which antibodies are better?

The answer is simple: all antibodies to COVID-19 are good! All antibodies protect us from disease!

Antibodies formed after COVID-19 disease live around 4-6 months. Several studies have already confirmed these axioms.

Not all people who go through COVID-19 disease make antibodies. The cause is not yet explained by the researchers.

After the vaccine, a large number of antibodies to protein S are produced. It is not yet known how long these antibodies will live.

Test kits for antibody determination are in continuous development. If you have taken the antibody test in Moldova and have received a negative result, this still does not mean that you do not have antibodies. The old tests look for the N protein or other proteins, according to the initial antibody testing hypotheses. The tests for protein S are newer, more truthful and more informative.

Lately more and more people are asking, how does immunity after vaccine differ from immunity after disease?

Immunity after the vaccine is stronger, because a larger number of antibodies are produced to a new specific S protein of the new type of coronavirus COVID-19. It is not yet known how long this protection will be valid. Continuous studies are on-going on all dimensions.

Those, who administered the vaccine in December 2020, will be able to test antibodies in December 2021, then in December 2022. Their results will come first and tell us a lot about the antibodies shelf life.

Immunity after the vaccine protects us from disease, especially from the severe forms. This applies to all known and approved vaccines. This also applies to all currently known strains.

Meanwhile, the virus creates new strains. Researchers will create new vaccines for these strains. New antigen and antibody test kits will also be created. It is a process of mutual adaptation of a natural coexistence between man and virus.

Immunity after illness is still good for a short time. He'll certainly protect us. The fact is, that the disease will bring us not only antibodies, but also a bunch of consequences, including the consequences for health. It's better to avoid the disease! The long-term consequences of the disease are not yet known.

Immunity after disease along with immunity after vaccine together forms what we call collective immunity.

How can we help create collective immunity?

Ideally, we should not go through the disease and vaccinate ourselves with the first affordable vaccine. The vaccine given will help the human body produce many antibodies and strong immunity without going through the disease.

If we have already been through the disease, vaccination is allowed after 90 days. Some vaccines allow administration in 180 days after the disease. The number of antibodies and immunity strength will increase significantly after the vaccine.

Refusal of vaccine and social impact

Vaccination against COVID-19 is voluntary. We have seen several presences in the media space with information about refusal or rejection of the vaccine. I have also seen many messages with insistence on the application of the vaccine's obligation.

How do we respond? Let's start with the end! We want to get to the end of the pandemic as soon as possible. There is only one way to this end: creating herd immunity.

Herd immunity can be created by gradually sickening the population, a process that can take 3-4 years. Group immunity can be created by vaccination, a process that can take up to 5-6 months in Moldova.

Any refusal of the vaccine has a major social impact and leads us on the longest way out of the pandemic. That means new restrictions, online school, closed borders, shrinking economy, etc.

Logically it would be to go on the road, which is shorter, safer, less expensive. And this road is just through vaccination! We don't have alternatives at the moment: we need a collective immunity to this virus!

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