More than a dozen Republican lawmakers with health care-related credentials have signed a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, calling for the CDC to acknowledge natural immunity within the context of COVID-19.
"We appreciate your efforts at the CDC in providing vaccine recommendations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As members of the Doctors Caucus, we applaud vaccines' role in preventing infectious diseases such as polio and measles, and now COVID-19. However, we must also acknowledge the need to develop patient-centered solutions that evidence medical necessity," the lawmakers wrote.
"To this end, we strongly urge the CDC to acknowledge infection-acquired immunity in addition to vaccine-acquired immunity. Natural immunity, to date, has been dismissed without adequate scientific acknowledgment and the CDC continues to ignore scientific evidence when making policies to achieve herd immunity," they said.
Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D., led the letter that was also signed by 14 other lawmakers, some of whom include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, M.D., Rep. Brian Babin D.D.S. of Texas, Rep. Diana Harshbarger, Pharm.D, of Tennessee.
"Examining patient populations across the world, some studies have found that natural immunity provided a lower risk of reinfection," the lawmakers said.
They pointed out that "newly released data from Israel shows that people who once had COVID-19 were much less likely than never-infected, vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19. According to the scholars, individuals who were both previously infected with COVID-19 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant. It can be inferred that an individual's durable immune response led to this protection."
The lawmakers noted that it is possible that some people may not even need to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
They called for "the CDC to harness available data and technology to establish better patient-centered solutions that will truly determine an individual's level of protection against COVID-19. It may be the case that it is not medically necessary for an individual to receive a vaccination. It may also be the case that a sufficient level of protection may be produced from one dose," they said.
"We urge the CDC to acknowledge natural immunity and work with other federal agencies to ensure all future guidance, policies, and federally-funded research take this evidence into account and build off it," they wrote.
So far 65% of the U.S. population comprised of people 12 and older has been fully vaccinated, while 75.4% of that population demographic has received at least one dose, according to the CDC.