Vaccination makes sure that you have anti-bodies so that your immune system has a heads-start once you get infected. If you were infected before, your body also built anti-bodies.

Are there diseases where one knows (or at least has a good reason to believe) that having had the disease provides less protection than the vaccination?

This is a follow-up question to Is there a benefit of a COVID-19 vaccination if one had COVID-19 before?

  • 2
    since a person can have shingles multiple times, and there is a shingles vaccine, I suspect it may be an example. But someone other than me would have to look for the papers. Dec 29, 2020 at 18:30
  • This is maybe a duplicate of this, although there is a slight difference in that that one is asking about no immunity vs. immunity whereas this is asking about weak immunity vs strong immunity.
    – BrenBarn
    Dec 31, 2020 at 8:44
  • Tetanus. Answered in SE Biology april 2020. Jan 3, 2021 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


Tetanus infections do not produce immunity. Vaccination with the tetanus toxoid does. (ref)

Moderna recently published results from a Phase II study for SARS-CoV-2 that showed that people who were vaccinated had higher spike-binding and neutralizing antibody responses than serum from people who had symptomatic COVID-19 (see Figure 3 of Chu 2021). Note that this is just looking at antibody responses, not protection from disease.

Dengue virus famously exhibits "antibody-dependent enhancement" of disease, meaning that it's typically worse each time you get the disease. There's no vaccine for dengue, but if there were, it would necessarily be more protective than infection.

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