- The Facts: Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, the company that developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer told CNBC that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine. She also believes people will need one every year.
- Reflect On: Why is vaccine hesitancy so high? Are there actually legitimate concerns that people have? Why are they always called “anti-vaccine conspiracy theories” and never actually addressed?
What Happened: Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, the company that developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer told CNBC that she expects people will need a third shot of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine because the immunity given from the previous two shots will wane. She also said that she expects people will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus every single year, similar to the seasonal flu. She states that “scientists expect vaccine induced immunity to decrease over time.” No specific information was given on the length of the immunity the vaccines already provide, if any, and given the fact that she is suggesting that people will need a third shot, as well as a shot every year, it’s safe to assume that the answer is not as long as people had hoped.
According to her, this waning of immunity is also seen in the natural immune response against COVID-19, meaning that those who have been infected with the virus can also be re-infected and are not protected. This is why she believes that they are expecting to see the same response with the vaccines.
Why This Is Important: Her claim that natural infection does not provide lasting immunity is, however, a debated topic among experts in the field. For example, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard medical professor, epidemiologist and vaccine expert alongside Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, (two founding members of The Great Barrington Declaration) a physician and professor at Stanford Medical school claim that those who have already been infected are immune.
There are multiple studies hinting to the point these doctors are making, that those who have been infected with COVID-19 have immunity, and may have immunity for decades. There are studies that suggest infection to prior coronaviruses, which prior to COVID-19 circled the globe infecting hundreds of millions of people every single year, can also provide protection from COVID-19. Keep in mind, the estimated number of people infected is, like other viruses, highly likely to be much more than the numbers we have seen from testing.
According to a new study for example authored by scientists at leading labs, individuals who recovered from the coronavirus developed “robust” levels of B cells and T cells (necessary for fighting off the virus) and “these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time.” This is just one of many examples.
Dr. Suneel Dhand, an internal medicine physician based in the United States explains thatvaccines aren’t required if one has acquired antibodies from infection, which, according to him, are much more effective than the vaccine.
I’m not aware of any vaccine out there which will ever give you more immunity than if you’re naturally recovered from the illness itself…If you’ve naturally recovered from it, my understanding as a doctor level scientist is that those antibodies will always be better then a vaccine, and if you know any differently, please let me know.
Viral immunologist, Professor at the University of Guelph, and vaccine expert Dr. Bryan Bridle, explains several concerns regarding the rollout of COVID vaccines. He explains that he’d rather acquire immunity through natural infection, and that natural immunity acquired by an ever-growing number of people means fewer people require vaccination to reach herd immunity. As a bonus, natural immunity also equates to broader immunity; these people should be less susceptible to re-infection if an immuno-evasive SARS-CoV-2 variant emerges, according to Bridle.
In his how words,
Acquisition of natural immunity, which targets multiple components of the virus, may reduce the risk of re-infection not only with covid-19, but also with variants that can bypass spike protein-specific (vaccine) immunity…It’s just a matter of time before we will have variants that can bypass this narrow immunity conferred by all of these vaccines….Natural immunity is very broad…And we know now there’s lots of published reports that this is protective.
So if a new variant infects, chances are that the immunity you have is going to blunt that infection, where as if you have that narrowly focused immunity conferred by the vaccine, and this variant has evaded that spike protein specific immunity, those people are going to be at much greater risk of more severe disease than those who acquire the new variant, but have this broad acting natural immunity.
And there’s even evidence, interestingly, that those with preexisting immunity against other coronaviruses, including the SARS coronavirus one from 17 years ago, and even from some of the cold causing coronaviruses, can cross protect some people.
So this is the sweet evidence that natural immunity can be pretty good. I actually kind of laugh when I see these publications coming out, because this is kind of immunology 101 that I teach all my students. This is what our immune systems are designed to do. (Sources linked within this article)
Why So Much Censorship?
Science is a place for open discussion, debate, and the presentation of information in an equal manner. When it comes to all things COVID, it’s no secret that “science is being suppressed for political and financial gain” and that it has “unleashed state corruption on a grand scale”, according to Dr. Kamran Abbasi, among many others.(source)
The issue here, again, with all things COVID is that one narrative is being presented within the mainstream media. When it comes to any information, evidence, data, science and/or opinion that calls into question the information or actions taken by governments around the world, it’s heavily censored, unacknowledged, and if it does gain some sort of traction it is usually then heavily ridiculed and labelled a conspiracy theory.
The media has been very reluctant to report reliable scientific and public health information about the pandemic. Instead they have broadcast unverified information such as the model predictions from Imperial College, they have spread unwarranted fear that undermine people’s trust in public health and they have promoted naïve and inefficient counter measures. – Kulldorff (source)
This is concerning because a large majority of people rely on mainstream media, television and newspapers for information. These are the only sources where they receive their information from and, are as a result, completely unaware of other important pieces of information. Mainstream media does not address this other information and when they do they, they ridicule it without actually addressing the information and evidence being presented.
Vinay Prasad MD MPH, an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco is another one of many experts in the field during this pandemic who has been criticizing Facebook fact-checkers.
He recently published an article in MEDPAGE TODAY titled titled “Facebook: A Worthy Judge of of Medical Info?” It’s a follow up to one he wrote back in November when he expressed,
Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)
How are people supposed to talk to each other if their perception of the pandemic is given to them by unreliable sources with massive conflicts of interests? Why is there a digital authoritarian Orwellian fact checker patrolling the internet trying to control information and tell people what is, and what isn’t?
The Takeaway: We’ve said it time and time again, throughout history, especially recent history, mainstream media has failed to have appropriate conversations about “controversial” topics. Governments, along with big media can make the minority look like the majority, and the majority look like the minority. They have such a large stranglehold on the perception of the population with regards to various major topics, and completely push a narrative that seems to suit the interests of a select few. This in turn makes it difficult for people to have conversations with each other and understand one another’s perspective.
This pandemic has, however, served as a great catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we are living the way that we do when our potential is so much greater. It’s quite clear that so many people are divided on all things COVID, and things aren’t as black and white as big media and government make them out to be. When things aren’t clear, and so many people are divided on what should be done, should the government simply be making recommendations instead of mandating measures that restrict the rights and freedoms of people? Lockdowns and stay at home orders are a great example, as they have had catastrophic results and may have already killed more people than COVID. Should we give governments so much power to the point where they can make such decisions?