A CNN medical analyst who promoted lockdowns and vaccination requirements and at one stage claimed "we can't trust the unvaccinated" has taken to the pages of the Washington Post to confirm claims that were up until recently derided as misinformation.
The so-called health expert now admits that natural immunity is optimal and that those who are vaccinated but had not previously caught COVID-19 are more susceptible to infection.
While some may be happy to see these long-censored claims printed in the Washington Post, others have suggested that what is missing from these public confirmations is an apology.
What are the details?
Leana Wen is an emergency doctor and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She was previously president of Planned Parenthood and has also served as a medical analyst on CNN.
On Dec. 9, Wen wrote an op-ed in the Post calling for an end to the vaccine mandate for members of the military.
Wen also suggested that "businesses, universities, schools and other entities that were once justified in implementing these requirements should consider removing them, too."
The CNN analyst appeared to defend stances she had taken earlier in the pandemic, claiming that "when the coronavirus vaccines were first made available, there was a compelling case for requiring them."
However, Wen noted that things and standards changed when the Omicron variant turned up.
Wen said that research has shown that vaccines' "effectiveness in reducing infection against the omicron subvariants is low and not lasting."
She cited a recent study in "Nature Communications," which found that "effectiveness against infection was about 50 percent in the first three months after vaccination but declined to around 10 percent or below thereafter."
In a study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine," Wen noted researchers found "that there was no difference in infection rates between people who received two doses of the vaccine six months earlier and those who remained unvaccinated."
Wen further noted in her piece, which would likely have been censored online earlier this year, that the new bivalent booster targeting Omicron is not particularly effective against infection.
Potentially running afoul of the mRNA vaccines' most outspoken champions, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Wen claimed that public health officials must be up front that the coronavirus vaccine is not equivalent to far more effective real vaccines, such as those used to treat polio or measles.
"Young, healthy people, most of whom already had covid, are very unlikely to become severely ill, and there is little, if any, lasting difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s likelihood of infecting others," wrote Wen.
In another shibboleth-violating op-ed published Dec. 18, Wen stated, "Abundant research shows natural immunity conveys excellent protection against covid. One Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that vaccinated people who never had covid were at least three times as likely to be infected as unvaccinated people with prior infection."
She also cited a Lancet study that found "that those who were vaccinated but never had covid were four times as likely to have severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death compared to the unvaccinated who recovered from it."
The piece points out that an Israeli study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" compared a group of vaccinated people who had never had COVID-19 and a group of people who had not been vaccinated but had been previously infected with COVID-19.
It turns out that the first group had "twice the number of infections as the second" just two months after their shots, and after six months, the "first group's infection rate was nearly three times higher than the second's."
Although Wen had previously supported vaccinating children, she cited CDC analysis indicating that over 90% of adolescents have contracted the virus, meaning they likely benefit from the natural immunity touted earlier in the piece.
After questioning the utility and good of vaccine mandates, Wen highlighted the dangers they pose — which were previously unacknowledgeable on social media.
Wen referenced two sets of statistics, one from the CDC and the second from a Canadian database; the first showing that there are 39 myocarditis cases per million second doses among males 18 to 24 and the second showing that there are 22 cases for every 100,000 doses for men ages 18 to 29.
About-face and backlash
Wen has ostensibly come a long way in her thinking in a short period of time.
In July 2021, Wen spoke to Democracy Now! bemoaning vaccine hesitancy and claiming that "we know that we can't trust the unvaccinated."
When the Delta variant turned up, Wen told CNN that "it needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated."
The health policy professor suggested to CNN's Chris Cuomo that societal reopening must be tied to vaccination status.
She said, "We need to start looking at the choice to remain unvaccinated the same as we look at driving while intoxicated. ... You have the option to not get vaccinated if you want, but then you can't go out in public."
Wen also stressed that mobility rights and other human liberties should be tied to vaccination status.
"There are privileges associated with being an American. That if you wish to have these privileges, you need to get vaccinated. Travel, and having the right to travel in our state, it’s not a constitutional right as far as I know to board a plane," she told CNN on another occasion.
In response to Wen's recent op-eds, New York art dealer Eli Klein expressed his surprise that the "Washington Post finally published the truth about natural immunity."
Joel Petlin, superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District, tweeted, "The media coverage of COVID-19 research on natural immunity has evolved from being banned on Twitter to being embraced by the same *experts* who applauded the original bans. The only thing missing is the apologies and the commitment to not repeat the outrageous past mistakes."
Revolver News suggested that Wen's admissions are "too little too late. Dr. Wen and her ilk conspired with the FBI and Big Tech to suppress these very facts that we needed to make sound decisions about how to respond to a novel pathogen. Their totalitarian streak cost us our freedom of movement, freedom of association, and our bodily autonomy."