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What’s better at fighting COVID-19: Vaccine or natural immunity?

A Center for Disease Control (CDC) report is being used as evidence by some claiming natural immunity is better at fighting COVID-19 than the vaccine, but what do the experts say?

The CDC report found people who survived previous COVID-19 infection had lower rates of infection compared people who were vaccinated alone. The report included data gather from May to November 2021, when the delta variant was the most common COVID-19 strain circulating in the U.S.

“In my opinion, I think that paper is being inappropriately interpreted,” said Dr. Emil Lesho, an infectious disease specialist with Rochester Regional Health, according to News10 NBC.

Lesho says while natural immunity and vaccination can be comparable in their protection against COVID-19 in some cases, both lessen in their effectiveness over time. Plus, the vaccine protects against multiple strains, versus natural immunity protecting a person only from the strain to which they were exposed.

Dr. Lesho and the CDC agree that vaccines provide the greatest protection against COVID-19.