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OSDH: COVID vaccines more effective than natural immunity

OSDH, Dr. Jennifer Clark with Project ECHO
Dr. Jennifer Clark presents data and analysis from the state's Oct. 3-9 epidemiology report.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says data its collected so far shows vaccination is more effective at preventing COVID than immunity from infection.


OSDH has been tracking reinfection versus breakthrough numbers since at least May, but stopped short of making distinctions in previous exchanges with Public Radio Tulsa. 


In a statement attributed to an OSDH epidemiologist shared with Dr. Jennifer Clark of OSU’s Project ECHO, the department says “immunity acquired through vaccination is more effective than natural immunity.”


Dr. Clark emphasized these numbers are very rough and changing.


“Obviously this data is still evolving and it’s new. But right now this data really shows that trend.”  


According to OSDH, the reinfection column in the table also includes vaccinated people who had COVID, got vaccinated, then experienced a breakthrough, but that situation would be more rare. Current studies show vaccination with natural immunity creates "superhuman" resistance to COVID.


"An estimated 90% of reinfections have been determined to be among unvaccinated individuals. This is for the time frame from Sept. 2020 - Oct. 2021. Vaccinated reinfections would have started in March 2021," OSDH told Public Radio Tulsa on Oct. 8.


Currently, the reinfection rate for those who’ve previously had COVID is 1.8 times higher than the breakthrough infection rate.