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Use all science to make COVID-19 decisions

We have been told that Durango schools won’t be normal unless 70% of the eligible population in our county have been fully vaccinated. We are currently at 65% and that number doesn’t appear to be budging. How many of the remaining 35% previously had COVID-19? This is a crucial question since real-world data are now emerging that show natural immunity from COVID-19 infection is also protective.

The CDC currently estimates that over a third of the U.S. population has been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Ignoring natural immunity from infection goes against decades, even centuries, of science. This is because a vaccine is a mimic of the actual virus. When a person is infected with the whole virus, their immune system creates antibodies that recognize multiple parts of the virus; the vaccine, on the other hand, uses just one part of the virus, in this case the spike protein.

While the SARS-CoV-2 virus contains molecular sequences that are new to the human immune system, the virus has not changed the human immune system. Being exposed to the spike protein or the whole virus diminishes the risk of future serious illness. Not having any exposure to any part of the virus leaves people vulnerable to hospitalization or death from COVID-19, and getting vaccinated is the safest way to give your immune system this exposure.

Let’s make sure we are using all the science that is available – including the science around natural immunity – to make decisions that greatly affect our community.

Christine Smith