CDC report finds natural immunity worked better than vaccine against COVID's delta-variant wave

Study occurred when delta variant was rapidly spreading, immunity among those first vaccinated waining
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College COVID vaccine clinic
College COVID vaccine clinic
David Ryder/Getty Images

A new CDC report states a prior case of COVID-19 protected people from infection better than vaccinations did during the delta wave last summer and fall.

The findings were published Wednesday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is based on new research from the agency and health officials in California and New York that appears to contradict public health messaging that pushed for vaccinations.

Still, experts say the vaccination shots remain the safest way to protect against the worse side effects of contracting COVID, according to NBC News. During the height of the virus's delta-variant surge last summer, essentially all hospitalized COVID patients were not vaccinated.

The new research is based on analyses of COVID infections among roughly 1.1 million adults in California and New York from May to November of last year – a period in which the delta variant was rapidly spreading and immunity among those first vaccinated was waining, NBC News also reports.