Vaccines have never had the smoothest running PR campaigns. Be it due to the fear of side effects or a trust deficit between a citizen and the state or the pharma industry, there is an unignorable percentage that still prefers, or remains confused about, natural immunity over the one induced by vaccines.
As the entire discourse on COVID transitions from mutations towards booster shots, it is high time we compare both types of immunities. High time also because one, the COVID vaccination drive is in full swing and two, because August is the National Immunization Awareness Month.
Natural Immunity vs Vaccination
When we say natural immunity, we mean the one a body develops after being infected by a virus naturally or unintentionally.
Unintentionally because the opposite of natural immunity is the immunity induced through vaccination. And vaccines work by intentionally introducing your body to a weakened form of the disease to make the T-memory cells aware of a virus out there, so that an immune system develops to, later on, fight the actual virus.
The Problem with Vaccination
The fact is that no vaccine against any virus out there guarantees one hundred percent protection. So, even after getting a vaccine against a particular virus, you can still contract it and fall sick from it. However, the likelihood of your sickness getting severe is relatively low.
Similarly, vaccines do not necessarily protect you against a virus for life. There is a good chance that their efficacy may diminish with time. However, the protection of most vaccines, like the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), lasts for many years after the complete course.
And lastly, there is this minor issue of side effects. No, vaccines don’t cause autism or anything, but when they introduce viruses in their harmless forms into a body, the body may or may not give a visible reaction. Most cases of such side effects are mild, short-lived, and not worrisome unless they persist (in which case you must seek a doctor’s advice).
The Problem with Natural Immunity
Natural immunity has two significant problems. The first problem is that it places a dangerous bet on you contracting the disease and being lucky enough to survive it, or survive it without developing lasting issues for yourself.
How a disease would react in your system depends on several factors. Your lifestyle, age, medical state, the variant of the attacking virus; many factors come into calculation. And no one can guarantee whether your unvaccinated body will last the infection or not.
And even if it does last, there is a strong possibility of it leaving you with lasting medical conditions and complications. In the most recent example of this, it has been reported that some of those who contracted the COVID-19, and recovered from it, were suffering from irreversible lung damage. That aside, if it hasn’t been clear yet, an unprotected (by a vaccine) exposure to such a virus can be fatal.
Another problem with natural immunity is that its protection is often short-lived, mainly because of the mutating nature of viruses. Mostly, when viruses mutate, their potency falls. However, in some instances, virus mutations, like the Delta or Delta Plus Variant in the case of COVID, can get deadlier, or easily transmittable, or dangerous in numerous other ways. When that happens, your natural immunity may fall short of your expectations from it, and you may fall sick from the virus repeatedly.
In simple words, as was promised in the title, vaccines provide better protection than natural immunity. They keep your sickness from getting severe and, in most cases, offer wide-spectrum protection against the virus and its mutations.
Most vaccines last for a long time, and where they may not, you will hear your physician suggesting you get a booster shot. Like the one for tetanus, some vaccines come with a pre-defined protection period and a guide on when you should get a booster or subsequent shot. For others, it’s a simple one-time thing.
So, no matter at what stage of life you are and irrespective of the fact that you got vaccinated for a particular virus in your childhood, if you are at an increased risk of a particular disease, you may be advised to take a booster shot of its vaccine.
Therefore, it is important to get immunized and live and enjoy a safer life with the best of what medical science has to offer. And Annie’s Place delivers a lot of this ‘best of medical science’ at home through its mobile healthcare services. Get in touch for your healthcare needs.