Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: False


Great news! - Pfizer vaccine 90% effective - Moderna vaccine 94.5% effective - Naturally acquired COVID-19 99.9982% percent effective* * (estimating 200 reinfections out of 11 million Americans, which is likely an overestimation of actual reinfections)

Claim Publisher and Date: Sen. Rand Paul on 2020-11-17

On November 17, U.S. Sentator Rand Paul of Kentucky compared the effectiveness of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines with "naturally acquired COVID-19" on Twitter. He folllowed-up by asking, "Why does the left accept immune theory when it comes to vaccines, but not when discussing naturally acquired immunity?" Besides ignoring the point of vaccines, which is to protect the public BEFORE they get sick, the comparison of natural COVID-19 infection and vaccine efficacy is inacurate. Reinfections have not been confirmed and the efficacy of naturally-acquired immunity is still not understood. A person has to survive or suffer through the infection to get protection from naturally acquiring COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises all people, including those who have recovered from COVID-19, to continue to physically distance, wear masks, wash their hands and avoid crowds.

As far as efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, Dr. Jeffrey Ebersole, an immunologist and professor of biomedical sciences with UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine has this to say...

While all vaccines are designed to induce antibodies that produce protection against infection and disease, one potential difference with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines compared to other vaccines in development is that they may be less effective at inducing immune T cells. T cells circulate until they encounter their specific antigen – the part of the virus that triggers an immune response – rather than generically attacking any foreign particle. 

This may be important since it’s still unclear why we’re seeing the extensive variation in disease presentation across the population, and exactly what aspects of the immune response are most effective in limiting infection/transmission and mitigating disease symptoms. Therefore, this T cell component could emerge to be an important aspect for broad and extended vaccine success. 

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