A trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine detected the most sobering signal yet that people who have recovered from infections are not completely protected against a variant that originated in South Africa and is spreading rapidly, preliminary data presented this week suggests.
The finding, though far from conclusive, has potential implications for how the pandemic will be brought under control, underscoring the critical role of vaccination, including for people who have already recovered from infections. Reaching herd immunity — the threshold when enough people achieve protection and the virus can’t seed new outbreaks — will depend on a mass vaccination campaign that has been constrained by limited supply.
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that it appears a vaccine is better than natural infection in protecting people, calling it “a big, strong plug to get vaccinated” and a reality check for people who may have assumed that because they have already been infected, they are immune.
Source: The Washington Post, 6 February 2021