To the editor:

As a COVID-19 survivor, why does our immunity and positive antibody not count as part of the herd? Medical experts please respond. A study by the La Jolla Institute of Immunology in California revealed robust immunity of COVID-19 survivors at eight months after infection (January 6, 2021, online journal of Science). The “3-month rule” is a misinterpretation of a King’s College London study (July 2020, online) that merely stated antibody levels fall which is typical after an infection over time. The King’s College study did not evaluate immunity. Indeed, why do COVID-19 survivors need to receive a vaccine? Medical experts do not suggest the chickenpox vaccine if you have already had chickenpox. To date, we do not have hard data that COVID-19 survivors’ immunity fades significantly over time. Please correct me if we do.

Is there a risk of hyper immunity for COVID-19 survivors who receive the vaccine? A study at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, found that COVID-19 survivors had a 10-20 times antibody response after vaccine compared to people without a history of infection (January 2021 online). They also had more severe side effects after vaccination. The researchers asked if COVID-19 survivors only needed one of the two-shot vaccines. Indeed, why do COVID-19 survivors need a vaccine at all?

The vaccine is a wonderful tool to help prevent infection and possibly death and problems from being infected by COVID-19 for high risk and medium risk people.

The above data should cause us to pause especially when considering the vaccine for low-risk people including children. For children who have had COVID-19 already, what long-term effects might hyper immunity cause? We simply do not know without long-term studies. When the vaccines were approved by the FDA for emergency use, experts expressed concern that the “language is just too broad.” (Dr. Micheal Kurilla, December 2020)

OBGYN physician Gregory Michael died in January 2021 after presenting with very low platelets tjree days after receiving a dose of vaccine. He was a healthy 56-year-old. This is rare. I am a 54-year-old OBGYN physician. If I had not survived COVID-19 already, I would consider a vaccine while respecting the right of individuals to decide for themselves. But I have antibody. Why does my antibody (immunity) not count? Why do I need a vaccine?

—Steve Hopf, MD, FACOG