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GOP Fully Embraces ‘Natural Immunity’ As A Vaccine Substitute

GOP Fully Embraces ‘Natural Immunity’ As A Vaccine Substitute

Let’s get this out of the way up front: there is no such thing as natural immunity. If humans were born immune to any virus, illness, bacteria, etc, there would be no need for vaccines and we could all walk around like badass untouchable immortals or whatever. At the most, we are able to develop a resistance to something, but even then, we need help from science.

Humans are fallible products of biology that are absolutely susceptible to a whole lot of foreign intruders both externally as well as internally. You can’t see the flu, but it can certainly kill you just as badly as, say, a white teenager holding a rifle. Protecting yourself from dying is supposed to be built-in to us, and the fight-or-flight instinct we need to survive the Darwinian Hunger Games that we’re living in also includes not catching a virus that’s killed millions around the world.

Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images

You can’t tell any of this to the willfully obtuse anti-vaxxers who have allowed political loyalty to supplant their own sense of natural self-protection or the fierce instinct that makes parents do all they can to make sure their young survive. These parents want to send their kids off to school unvaccinated and unprotected because of Trumpian peer pressure. Cult 45 is happily sacrificing itself to Dear Leader in the worst example of groupthink since Jonestown. It’s still astonishing to witness this even after six years of MAGA.

While scientists acknowledge that people previously infected with COVID-19 have some level of immunity but that vaccines offer a more consistent level of protection. That hasn’t stopped the state of Florida, which wrote natural immunity into state law this week as GOP lawmakers elsewhere are pushing similar measures to sidestep vaccine mandates. Lawsuits over the mandates have also begun leaning on the idea. Conservative federal lawmakers have implored regulators to consider it when formulating mandates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in August that COVID-19 survivors who ignored advice to get vaccinated were more than twice as likely to get infected again. A more recent study from the CDC, looking at data from nearly 190 hospitals in nine states, determined that unvaccinated people who had been infected months earlier were five times more likely to get COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people who didn’t have a prior infection.

The AP reports that the “natural immunity” debate comes as the country is experiencing another surge in infections and hospitalizations and 60 million people remain unvaccinated in a pandemic that has killed more than 770,000 Americans. President Joe Biden is hoping more people will get vaccinated because of workplace mandates set to take effect early next year but which face many challenges in the courts. But the right-wing anti-vax movement still has plenty of power behind it.

And many Republicans eager to defy President Biden have embraced the argument that immunity from earlier infections should be enough to earn an exemption from the mandates.

“We recognize, unlike what you see going on with the federal proposed mandates and other states, we’re actually doing a science-based approach. For example, we recognize people that have natural immunity,” Florida Gov. Ron “Death” DeSantis, a Republican who has been one of the biggest critics of virus protocols, which led to a record amount of deaths in his state, said at a signing ceremony for sweeping legislation to hobble vaccine mandates this week.

Read the AP’s full report on why the GOP is fine with letting Darwin take the wheel here.

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