Just how much does our government want to promote the false premise that natural infection with COVID-19 does not convey long-term immunity? Officials appear to want the public to believe that those already infected should get the vaccine just as quickly as those who haven't gotten the infection, which would likely lead to people who don't need it using up scarce doses of the vaccine.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), having had the virus himself, was perturbed when he noticed a startlingly false statement in the CDC's "Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Interim Recommendation for Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine" published in December with regard to those who have already had the virus. "Consistent high efficacy (≥92%) was observed across age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions, as well as among participants with evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection," stated the original version of the report, co-authored by over a dozen authors and scientists.
Massie told me he jumped out of his seat upon reading that line, because the CDC was in fact saying that the clinical trial on the Pfizer vaccine proved the vaccine to further advance immunity among those naturally infected just like it does for those without infection. Having already contracted the virus, Massie was appalled that the CDC, in this report and through other campaigns, would be suggesting that he take just as high a priority for the vaccine as someone who doesn't have any natural immunity.
The congressman was interviewed by Sharyl Attkisson, who reported on Massie's correspondence with the CDC in his attempt to correct the record. Indeed, no clinical trial has shown that the vaccine furthers one's immunity after already having had the virus. In fact, among approximately 1,300 people who had prior infections in the Pfizer study (650 in the vaccine group and 650 in the placebo group) there were 10 reinfections in the vaccine group and 9 in the placebo group after the first dose and one in each group after the second dose. Thus, their own trial actually showed zero evidence of the vaccine advancing the degree of immunity beyond that which is conveyed naturally. Some recent studies have already shown that natural infection offers at least as much protection from future infection, especially from serious symptoms, as the vaccine.
This false claim by the CDC cannot be viewed in a vacuum. Attkisson released a transcript of a conversation Massie had with CDC official Dr. Amanda Cohn in which she thanks him profusely for catching the mistake. "I think we read that thing so many times that when, you know, we just skipped right over it," said Dr. Cohn in the conversation that Massie recorded. "We know we can't be perfect, we know we're gonna miss things. You will forever after be known in our office as 'Eagle-Eyed Man.'"
However, just two days later, Dr. Cohn moderated a panel discussion with medical professionals from the CDC to answer questions about the vaccine. Dr. Sara Oliver of the CDC, the lead author of the guidance with the original mistake about vaccine efficacy for those with prior infection, said clearly during the video conference, "Data from both clinical trials suggests that people with prior infection are still likely to benefit from vaccination."
The CDC refuses to convey the truth to the public that natural immunity is at least as effective as the vaccine and that no study has ever shown at this point that the vaccine furthers natural immunity. Attkisson reports that for at least a month after Massie's phone calls with the CDC, the agency refused to change the document. Finally, they corrected the sentence about effectiveness in those with prior infections, but basically restated the false premise that evidence shows effectiveness among those with prior infection.
The updated version from January 29 separated the original sentence into two sentences and reads as follows: "Consistent high efficacy (≥92%) was observed across age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions. Efficacy was similarly high in a secondary analysis including participants both with or without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection."
If you are scratching your head wondering how this is a correction, you are not missing anything. Rep. Massie told me in an interview that "these words 'with or without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection' imply that regardless of whether you had COVID or not, this vaccine is proven to be effective." According to Massie, "this is absolutely not borne out in either the Pfizer or Moderna trials."
"They are still misleading people, and this time it's intentional," said the irate congressman. "This is just a restatement of their mistake; this is not a correction."
The Moderna vaccine showed similar results to the Pfizer one, with no further efficacy of the vaccine vs. natural infection. For the CDC's interim recommendation on Moderna, which was written a week later, the CDC indeed made sure to properly and accurately explain the results. "High efficacy (≥86%) was observed across age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions." The report does not mention those with prior infection, and in fact, in the sentence before, it says explicitly that the effectiveness was "among persons without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, which was the primary study endpoint" (emphasis added).
So why does the CDC still refuse to accurately publish the Pfizer recommendation in accordance with the results from the clinical trial, and why are officials still refusing to publicize the benefits of natural immunity and caution against prioritizing those who were already infected? Either the powers that be in Big Pharma don't want to lose their customer base, given that over 100 million people likely contracted the virus already, or our government wants to continue peddling panic and fear forever with no expiration date by misleading people to think they will always be at risk for serious illness from a relapse of COVID. Which is perhaps why officials are demanding that the human rights violations continue even after we receive the vaccine itsself – a vaccine that they claim is more effective than natural immunity.