Margery Smelkinson, a research scientist at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the US’s failure to recognise natural immunity negatively affected the pandemic response.
The failure to recognize how post-infection immunity is similar or superior to that bestowed by vaccination led to prolonged school closures and other problems, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientist told Congress on May 11.
U.S. public health agencies “chose to disregard natural immunity,” leading to “lost jobs, staffing shortages, children kept out of school, and wasted vaccines,” said Margery Smelkinson, a research scientist at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
She was one of three experts who testified at a hearing on immunity during the pandemic conducted by the U.S. House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in Washington.
Smelkinson, who said she was testifying in her personal capacity, is employed by the same agency that was led for decades by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who repeatedly downplayed natural immunity along with other top public health officials.
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Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were among the officials to meet secretly in 2021 to decide whether post-infection immunity should count as one or more vaccine doses in the recommended COVID-19 vaccination schedule, according to documents obtained by The Epoch Times. The meeting resulted in no changes to the recommendations, which advise virtually all Americans to get a vaccine even if they’ve recovered from COVID-19.
The government’s position on natural immunity meant that COVID-19 vaccine mandates across the country featured no exceptions for the naturally immune, in contrast to some other countries.
The CDC has said that there is post-infection protection but that it varies by person, it’s unclear how long it lasts, and recovered people should still get vaccinated.
But evidence from before the vaccines were even available signaled that natural immunity was robust, and later studies provided evidence that natural immunity was similar to or even better than vaccination, Smelkinson noted.
The FDA has approved Vowst, which is the first oral biologic pill for fecal microbiota containing human feces.