Public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is being undercut by the widespread push for everybody, even those with natural immunity, to get them, according to a member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team during the Trump administration.
That administration was able to help several companies produce vaccines in record time.
“It wasn’t just cutting red tape, it was saying, we need something urgently, we need all hands on deck. And that was really done very well,” Dr. Scott Atlas told NTD’s “Capitol Report,” part of the Epoch Media Group.
The current administration’s push through mandates and other forms of pressure to get everybody vaccinated, though, has undercut the positive development, according to Atlas.
“The trust in the vaccines is undermined when you’re trying to force everyone, even those who don’t necessarily need the vaccine, to take the vaccine,” he said. “It raises questions.”
Atlas favors people at risk from COVID-19 getting vaccinated, pointing to data that shows the shots do well in preventing death and serious illness. “People that have a risk of dying, or serious illness, it makes it makes quite a bit of sense to take the vaccine,” he said. At the same time, studies and real-world evidence show the vaccines do poorly in protecting against infection, particularly against the newly emerged Omicron variant. Further, a strong body of evidence indicates people who have natural immunity, or have recovered from COVID-19, have a higher level of protection against both infection and hospitalization versus vaccination.
“Natural immunity is one of the most flagrant omissions in the discussion by our public health leadership. In fact, the United States is uniquely denying science,” Atlas said.
Federal health officials have acknowledged that people who recover from COVID-19 have some immunity against the disease but have asserted, pointing to a much smaller body of evidence, that vaccines provide better protection.
They also promote so-called hybrid immunity, which involves people with natural immunity still getting vaccinated.
Atlas said “it’s not even arguable” to say those with natural immunity don’t have superior protection compared to those vaccinated who have not been infected.
He noted a recent Israeli study that found people with natural immunity were far less likely to contract COVID-19 or severe cases of the disease. He also noted that many other countries allow an opt-out from vaccine passports for the naturally immune.
“When you have a country like ours, a CDC, who pushes mandates for vaccine for everybody, and disregards the fact that people who’ve recovered from the infection have significant protection, you’re pushing a vaccine on people, including people who may not need the vaccine,” Atlas said.
“And when you do that you’re undermining the trust in the vaccine for the very people who actually should get the vaccine. And so it’s dangerous. It’s a huge error of public health leadership to deny the presence of natural immunity.”