COVID Immunity

Lancet Study shows that natural COVID immunity might be better than vaccines

New Lancet Study On Natural COVID Immunity

Dr. Misha Kogan, director of the GW Center for Integrative Medicine (GWCIM), summarized the insight from an article published in The Lancet about the COVID-19 pandemic and boosters. 

This study was a systematic review meaning that researchers synthesized insight from several different studies. It is also a meta-analysis study. This means that the paper looks at prior controlled trials and assesses the quality of data to ensure “you’re comparing apples and apples.” 

Here are the key takeaways.

Lancet Study shows that natural COVID immunity might be better than vaccines

New Lancet Study On Natural COVID Immunity
Scientists reviewed 65 studies from 19 different countries for the article

Scientists reviewed 65 studies from 19 different countries for their article, “SARS-CoV-2 infection protection against re-infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis” (2023). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded this study and The Lancet is considered to be one of the top medical journals in the world.

People have been wondering how long they will be protected against getting a symptomatic infection of COVID-19. Dr. Kogan expects that this question–and this study–may trigger a few controversies around when people should get boosted. Until more data is available, “young and healthy people who have been infected before with COVID should not get the Pfizer booster,” right now, Dr. Kogan shares. 

Researchers will also need to re-do this data over and over again as new strains appear. 

When Should People Get Boosted for COVID-19?

“It’s highly individualized,” Dr. Kogan explains after reviewing this paper. This can make some people confused about whether they should get boosters and how frequently to get them. “It’s still reasonable to get boosted every 12 months,” Dr. Kogan states, “unless you have a preexisting condition or illness. Everyone over 65 years old should talk to their doctor and likely get boosted.” People may still get reinfected after a booster, but they are more likely to be protected against severe illness. 

“If you’re relatively healthy and have no problems, I’d say no boosters at all, none–until I have more data,” Dr. Kogan reflects toward the end of his review. “This will be critiqued” he adds. Questions may include, “How do we know that you have included all the data?” 

For now, this is a robust study until there is more data to review. It’s also worth noting that many of the studies in the article cited were done in Europe, though there are studies in Africa and Asia in the paper.

When Should People Get Boosted for COVID-19

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GW Center, located in Washington, D.C., hosts an weekly online Long COVID program for members.