The secret government meeting on COVID-19 natural immunity, which was held in October 2021, was briefly discussed before on a podcast.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was one of four senior U.S. health officials who secretly gathered to debate whether or not naturally immune people should be excused from receiving COVID-19 vaccines.
Four outside specialists were brought in by the authorities to debate whether natural immunity, the defense developed after recovering from COVID-19, could be considered equivalent to one or more vaccination doses.
“There was interest in several people in the administration in hearing basically the opinions of four immunologists in terms of what we thought about … natural infection as contributing to protection against moderate to severe disease, and to what extent that should influence dosing,” said Dr. Paul Offit, one of the experts.
Offit and a different expert claimed that people who are naturally immune require fewer doses. Natural immunity, according to the other two experts, shouldn’t be taken into account.
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Because the United States has never recognized post-infection protection, the discussion did not result in a change in vaccination policy. Fauci and the other U.S. authorities who heard from the specialists have repeatedly minimized that protection, saying it pales in comparison to immunity acquired by vaccination. The majority of studies on the topic show the contrary.
The meeting was previously stated on a podcast, and it happened in October 2021. Every attendee of the meeting was identified, and other significant details were uncovered.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford University professor of medicine who was not present at the meeting, objected to the fact that such an important conversation was held in private with so few participants.
“It was a really impactful decision that they made in private with a very small number of people involved. And they reached the wrong decision,” said Bhattacharya.
From the government:
- Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden until the end of 2022
- Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general
- Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Dr. Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which includes the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, until December 2021
- Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House vaccine coordinator until November 2021
From outside the government:
- Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an adviser to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines
- Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a former member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board
- Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University
- Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the Baylor College of Medicine’s School of Tropical Medicine
Hotez frequently portrayed vaccination as being better than natural immunity in public, citing the CDC article that has received a lot of criticism despite only using data from two months of testing in one state.
On October 29, 2021, he tweeted: “Still more evidence, this time from @CDCMMWR showing that vaccine-induced immunity is way better than infection and recovery, what some call weirdly ‘natural immunity’. The study found that the natural immune were five times as likely to test positive compared to vaccinated people with no prior infection. The far-right and anti-vaccination groups rage, but it’s the truth.
Osterholm has criticized those who assert that natural immunity is inadequate or nonexistent, but he has also asserted that protection conferred through vaccination is superior. Just a few months after the conference, Osterholm also modified his position, stating in February 2022 that “we’ve got to make three doses the true standard” while also “trying to understand what kind of immunity we get from a previous infection.”
Offit has been the committee’s most vocal opponent of the COVID-19 boosters’ approval by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which advises US vaccine authorities. Offit claimed that because boosters don’t significantly improve the primary series, they are not necessary for the young and healthy. Additionally, he blasted regulators for approving revised shots without consulting the committee and in the absence of clinical data. Due of the booster campaign, two of the top Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials in the United States resigned. The invites to the private discussion on natural immunity did not mention any FDA employees.
Fauci and Walensky Downplay Natural Immunity
Natural immunity has been frequently minimized by Fauci and Walensky, two of the most prominent U.S. health officials during the pandemic.
Fauci, who expected there would be “substantial immunity post-infection” in an email in March 2020, would subsequently claim that natural immunity was real but that its longevity was unknown. He cited research showing that hybrid immunity results in higher antibody levels.
Months after asserting that those who had received vaccinations “can feel safe that they are not going to get infected,” Fauci stated in September 2021 that he did not have “a really firm answer” regarding whether those who are naturally immune should receive vaccinations.
“It is conceivable that you got infected, you’re protected—but you may not be protected for an indefinite period of time,” Fauci said on CNN when pressed on the issue. “So I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously.”
Following his appointment as director, Walensky recommended vaccination for those who are naturally immune in March 2021. He noted that while there was “rarely documented reinfection,” there was “substantial durability” of protection six months after infection.
Both the August 2021 CDC study on natural immunity and the October 2021 follow-up study were heavily promoted by Walensky. She did not make a statement, however, when the third research came out stating that natural immunity was superior. In a blog post published later, Walensky stated that the study had revealed that natural immunity offered robust protection, “perhaps even more so than those who had been vaccinated and not yet boosted.”
But, because it came before Omicron, she said, “it’s not entirely clear how that protection works in the context of Omicron and boosting.”
In an interview on MSNBC, Dr. Fauci finally admitted that he used lockdowns to force people to get vaccinated and complimented China’s Communist government’s lockdown tactics.
Murthy and Collins also belittled natural immunity. Concerning two months prior to the meeting, Murthy said on CNN, “From the studies about natural immunity, we are seeing more and more data that tells us that while you get some protection from natural infection, it’s not nearly as strong as what you get from the vaccine.” In a number of blog entries, Collins emphasized the research demonstrating greater antibody levels following vaccination and advised people to get vaccinated. He also expressed support for laws requiring vaccinations.
Vaccine Guidance Not Altered
The advantages of a natural immune system were available in several other nations.
Israel declared that those who provided serological proof of earlier infection might receive a “green pass,” which was necessary for the country to visit certain venues, for six months just days after U.S. officials heard from the experts. Some nations in the European Union claimed that they are naturally immune to only a single dose, father of two, to obtain a digital certificate allowing them to move freely within the union. People who tested positive for COVID-19 could use the United Kingdom’s travel permit if the test was performed within the previous 180 days.
However, the United States vaccine policy, which has served as the foundation for vaccination requirements in a variety of fields, including health care and education, has not changed in the slightest.
“I think it’s because the opinions were sort of generally diverse, so there wasn’t a clear, unified message that came out of that,” Offit said, adding via email that there was “generally a divide among participants about how to think about this,” with “no firm conclusions.”
Other U.S. policies eventually began to recognize natural immunity. For instance, Walensky stated in April 2022 (pdf below) that she was ending a public health strategy dubbed Title 42 since it had resulted in fewer hospitalizations and deaths “due, in part, to widespread population immunity.”
According to a related footnote, “In addition to vaccine-induced immunity, studies have consistently shown that infection with SARS-CoV-2 lowers an individual’s risk of subsequent infection and an even lower risk of hospitalization and death.” COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
The CDC relaxed its COVID-19 recommendations in August 2022, noting that “persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.”
And on January 26, the FDA gathered Offit and the other committee members to discuss a variety of vaccine-related topics. one of them? Whether it is appropriate to encourage those who are naturally immune to just have one vaccination, even if they have never had one before.
Read the order given below: