Claim: Natural immunity is much better than vaccine immunity
Source: Viral message
Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu
A viral WhatsApp message claims the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies have announced that “natural immunity is much better than vaccine immunity,” as the world continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Those who have not been vaccinated have won!! Yeah!! especially because your immune systems were not damaged by the vaccines!,” the WhatsApp message further said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Israel, and other European countries including the UK, Scotland, and the Czech Republic were also named to have come to a similar conclusion.
On January 13, 2022, the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, conveyed the tenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting highlighted the challenges posed by the high transmission levels of the Omicron variant of concern (VOC) and the corresponding burden on public health systems and health service delivery.
Nowhere during the video conference and in the statement that was subsequently published by the WHO was it stated that “natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity,” as has been shared in the viral WhatsApp message.
Contrary to claims made in the viral WhatsApp message that vaccines damage a recipient’s immune system, the WHO recommends that “If you are able to, get vaccinated”.
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines have gone through a rigorous, multi-stage testing process, including large clinical trials that involve tens of thousands of people. These trials are specifically designed to identify any safety concerns.
Meanwhile, a study by the US CDC has also concluded that “COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone,” which is in sharp contrast to the claim made in the viral message.
The viral message also referred to ‘points 6 and 7’ of the WHO temporary recommendations to state parties at the tenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee as evidence to support the claims being made.
However, points 6 and 7 of the WHO temporary recommendations only seek to modify COVID-19 restrictions imposed from the onset of the pandemic.
- 6) MODIFIED: Lift or ease international traffic bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties. The failure of travel restrictions introduced after the detection and reporting of the Omicron variant to limit the international spread of Omicron demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such measures over time. Travel measures (e.g., masking, testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination) should be based on risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers, per Article 40 of the IHR.
- 7) EXTENDED: Do NOT require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for international travel as the only pathway or condition permitting international travel, given limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. State Parties should consider a risk-based approach to the facilitation of international travel by lifting or modifying measures, such as testing and/or quarantine requirements, when appropriate, per the WHO guidance.
It has been observed that different versions of the same viral message have been shared in South Africa, with our team having been alerted via the WHO Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (WHO/AIRA).
The claim that “natural immunity is much better than vaccine immunity” is rated FALSE.