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NIH Scientist Testifies Government Ignored Importance of Natural Immunity—Let Us Now Commence, Once Again, the Great Misremembering
Unfortunately, for many online experts, the internet never forgets.
4 minute read
A congressional hearing on lessons learned from the pandemic made clear the obvious: there will be no lesson learned from the pandemic. Testifying before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, NIH scientist Margery Smelkinson stated that early data demonstrated the robustness of natural immunity after COVID infection, showing it was similar or even superior to vaccine-conferred immunity.
Centuries before we had vaccines, observers noted that infection provided some sort of future protection against disease, while modern researchers understand that natural immunity works for nearly all viruses. Outside of the United States, countries acknowledged the importance of natural immunity from prior COVID infection by granting exemptions from mandates and passports. Israel allowed a COVID-19 Green Pass for prior infected citizens, and if you had recovered from COVID, you could also get an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
America, of course, is the exception.
But in the land of Big Pharma, where the President’s nominee to run the NIH took $43 million in research funding last year from Pfizer, should we expect anything different? Denmark has stopped COVID vaccinations for people under 50, and Switzerland has withdrawn its COVID vaccine recommendation for all ages, but in America, the CDC still recommends infants as young as 6 months be vaccinated.
During her testimony, Smelkinson explained that natural immunity was understood, long before scientists knew about memory B and T cells and how the body’s immune system responds to pathogens.
For centuries, natural immunity has been recognized as a vital defense mechanism against reinfection, long before the precise cellular mechanisms were understood. Throughout much of the pandemic, though, much of the messaging in the US was that there was no evidence of lasting protection from COVID infection. But in fact, we did know otherwise, and early on.
You can watch her testimony here.
In this later exchange in the hearing, Smelkinson explained how ignoring natural immunity harmed mostly lower-income, minority communities. Researchers pointed to these same concerns in a BMJ review of vaccine policies.
Public trust in science has plummeted since the beginning of the pandemic, and people no longer believe what the government is telling them. Researcher Josh Guetzkow pointed to several reasons for this lack of trust in a May study.
Government Censorship - Hello, Twitter Files!
Inflexible Public Mandates – People with high education levels and work from home jobs designed our public health policies. But these policies never involved nor considered the needs of working class people, who can’t operate from home behind a computer. Thus, the jibe “laptop liberal” to describe experts who wrote the rules.
Conflicts of Interest and Regulatory Capture – See again that $43 million in Pfizer research funding for Biden’s nominee to run our National Institutes of Health.
Before we discuss the Lancet systematic review of 65 studies that found natural immunity is equivalent or greater than two doses of COVID vaccine, let’s review tweets promoting the message that there was no evidence of lasting protection from COVID infection by some very online experts and the scicomm writers who run in their herd.
In an uber friendly interview on CNN, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy implied that natural immunity was some sort of claim by “anti-vaxxers.” In the irony of ironies, Murthy later called on tech companies to turn over COVID-19 misinformation.
In this tweet, MSNBC’s favorite pandemic physician refers to natural immunity as something “weirdly” from the antivaccine far right groups. In a responding tweet, an average person asks Hotez why natural immunity doesn’t count for the millions of Americans previously infected.
This Case Western physician wasted no time jumping into the fray and offering medical advice once the pandemic hit. Marino works in emergency medicine.
Duke University’s very online doctor thinks natural immunity should be abandoned as an “expression” because it’s apparently peddled by “anti-vaxxers.”
Attempts at redefining the medical term natural immunity became a hit with many doctors on Twitter, including Jerome Adams, a former Surgeon General who is now at Purdue. In this case, Adams made a bunch of claims that recent research in The Lancet now shows to be misleading.
Tara Haelle is affiliated with the Association of Healthcare Journalists. If you’re interested in some of her odd ideas, you can follow her on Twitter. Here, she calls on reporters to define away the medical term natural immunity. If you’re one of the people she confused, see this CDC webpage on immunity.
I’m not even sure how to comment on this article, the magazine Mother Jones, or their very confused senior editor.
Let’s not forget the Canadians!
This Univeristy of Calgary professor tweets that natural immunity is a “trope from alternative medicine.” FYI: Stea is in the psychology department and a self-defined expert on misinformation.
This University of Alberta professor tweeted that natural immunity is associated with “antivaxx.” FYI: Timothy Caulfield is an attorney, and another expert on misinformation.
Never one to miss an opportunity to express a strong opinion, Twitter’s favorite gynecologist falsely stated that COVID vaccine-induced immunity is superior to natural immunity. Why? Well, that’s what everyone else in her circle was saying, so why not?
Again, a recent review of 65 studies by The Lancet found “the level of protection from past infection by variant and over time is at least equivalent if not greater than that provided by two-dose mRNA vaccines.” Of course, other studies published during the pandemic reported similar findings.
So why did so many online “experts” ignore this? And why has America become so exceptional in its vaccine policies? Leave your comments below.
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