Is natural immunity better than vaccine-acquired immunity?
In some cases, natural immunity is longer-lasting than the immunity gained from vaccination. The risks of natural infection, however, outweigh the risks of immunization for every recommended vaccine. For example, wild measles infection causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) for one in 1,000 infected individuals. Overall, measles infection kills two of every 1,000 infected individuals. In contrast, the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine results in a severe allergic reaction only once in every million vaccinated individuals, while preventing measles infection. The benefits of vaccine-acquired immunity extraordinarily outweigh the serious risks of natural infection. (For more on this topic, see our Understanding Risks activity.)
Additionally, the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and tetanus vaccines actually provide more effective immunity than natural infection.