The debate over vaccines versus natural immunity has flared as President Biden and Democratic governors and mayors implement sweeping vaccination mandates aimed at combating the Delta variant, prompting pushback from lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican.
Mr. Paul accused Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra last week of “being dishonest about naturally acquired immunity,” saying that the “vast preponderance of scientific studies, dozens and dozens, show robust long-lasting immunity after COVID infection.”
The senator, who also is a physician, cited a large Israeli study released in August that found people who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 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 publication Science.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control released a study of infections in Kentucky showing that “unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus.”
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in an Aug. 6 statement. “This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”
What makes some health-care experts nervous is the specter of people opting to expose themselves to COVID-19 instead of getting vaccinated.
“What we don’t want people to say is: ‘All right, I should go out and get infected, I should have an infection party,’” Rockefeller University immunologist Michel Nussenzweig told Science. “Because somebody could die.”
In the Project Veritas video, Mr. Croce said he disagreed with keeping track of vaccinated people, saying he thought it violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA].
“You shouldn’t have to show anything which is basically, in my opinion, a violation of HIPAA,” Mr. Croce said. “No one has the right to ask you if you’ve been vaccinated. It’s an invasion of privacy. I don’t agree with it.”
He also said that monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients has been “pushed to the side” over “money,” which he called “disgusting.”
“I still feel like I work for an evil corporation ‘cause it comes down to profits in the end,” he said. “Basically our organization is run on COVID money now.”
Mr. Karl said that the vaccine mandates appear to be aimed at “making it so inconvenient for unvaccinated people to the point where they’re just like, ‘F—- it, okay, I’ll get it.’ You know?”
The scientists also indicated that keeping a close hold on such information was paramount. At one point, Mr. Karl said, “Oh, God, I signed NDAs [non-disclosure agreements] against this.”
“There’s ears and eyes everywhere at Pfizer, in the building,” said Mr. Croce. “It’s kind of like, you don’t talk about anything that can possibly implicate you or, like, Big Pharma. Even if you shut the door to the office, it’s kind of like, who’s listening?”
Project Veritas president James O’Keefe posted a video Tuesday showing him at an outdoor restaurant confronting Mr. Karl, who walked to his car and drove away.
Mr. O’Keefe said that the scientists’ “expressed views run contrary to the current public policy affecting millions of people.”
“If scientists believe that antibody works more effectively than the vaccines, it begs the question: What’s with all the federal mandates regardless of what the data says?” asked Mr. O’Keefe.
Project Veritas has previously posted three videos as part of its #ExposePharma series on vaccines and vaccine mandates.
The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against future infections dropped from 88% to 47% after six months, according to a peer-reviewed study published Monday in Lancet, the details of which were first released in August.
The CDC reports that 65.6% of the U.S. population age 12 and older has been fully vaccinated. FDA trials are now underway for vaccines for younger children.