Mounting evidence shows natural immunity to COVID trumps vaccine immunity, but experts say the CDC is ignoring the long-standing science of natural immunity and manipulating data to support “what they’ve already decided.”
There is now a growing body of literature showing natural immunity not only confers robust, durable and high-level protection against COVID, but also provides better protection than vaccine-induced immunity.
Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ignoring the long-standing science of natural immunity when it comes to COVID — while acknowledging the benefits of natural immunity for other diseases — according to an expert who accused the agency of providing contradictory, ‘illogical’ COVID messaging.
Dr. Marty Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University, on Tuesday accused the CDC of “cherry-picking” data and manipulating public health guidance surrounding vaccines and natural immunity to support a political narrative.
Makary joined the “Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” to discuss the clinical impact of natural immunity as it compares to the vaccine.
During the show, Travis pointed out the CDC’s guidance on COVID is inconsistent with its vaccine recommendations for other contagious viruses, like chickenpox.
The CDC’s current guidance for chickenpox, for example, does not encourage those who have contracted it to vaccinate themselves against the virus. The CDC only recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents and adults who have never had chickenpox.
Doesn’t the CDC say the same thing about those of us who already had COVID?” Travis asked.
Makary called the conflicting guidance “absolutely illogical,” and accused the agency of “ignoring natural immunity.”
“It doesn’t make sense with what they’re putting out on chickenpox,” Makary said. It’s like they have adopted the immune system for one virus, but not for another virus, he said, and “cherry-picking the data to support whatever they’ve already decided.”
“They salami slice it — something we call fishing in statistical techniques,” Makary said. “That is when you look for a tiny sliver of data that supports what you already believe.”
According to a Sept. 13 article in The BMJ, when the COVID vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020, more than a quarter of Americans — 91 million — had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, according to CDC estimates.
As of this May, that proportion had risen to more than a third of the population, including 44% of adults between the ages of 18 and 59.
However, the CDC instructed everyone, regardless of previous infection, to get fully vaccinated as soon as they were eligible. On its website, the agency in January justified its guidance by stating natural immunity “varies from person to person” and “experts do not yet know how long someone is protected.”
By June, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 57% of those previously infected got vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, was asked Sept. 10 by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta whether people who have tested positive for the virus should still get a vaccine.
Gupta cited recent data from Israel suggesting people who recovered from COVID had better protection and a lower risk of contracting the Delta variant, compared to those with Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.
“I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that,” Fauci said. “That’s something we’re going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response.”
The research from Israel did not address the durability that natural immunity offers. Fauci said it is possible for a person to recover from COVID and develop natural immunity, but that protection might not last for nearly as long as the protection provided by the vaccine.
“I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously,” Fauci said.
Numerous studies, however, have shown people who recovered from COVID have robust, durable and long-lasting immunity.