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The Triumph of Natural Immunity

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A new CDC study shows that around 75% of American children have already had covid. That means that they have strong natural immunity that protects them from covid infections as they get older. Despite this, the CDC, the FDA and other government agencies are pushing all of them to get vaccinated. 

Why?

One important role of public health agencies during a pandemic is to conduct seroprevalence studies to determine how many people have developed antibodies to the disease from having been infected. That way we understand how the disease has spread and how it varies geographically and among different age groups. Spain did such a large, randomized survey early during the pandemic while Sweden did a series of smaller randomized surveys at regular intervals. 

In the United States, this important task was left to individual scientists, but they only had resources to conduct small surveys in a limited area such as the Santa Clara County Study. The CDC has now finally got its act together with a national survey. The results are illuminating. 

In April 2020, the Santa Clara study showed that 3% of its population had been infected. In February 2022, the CDC study shows that at least 58% percent of Americans have had covid, as evidenced by their anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, which are produced due to infections but not the vaccines. The numbers vary by age.

What does this mean? We know that natural immunity after covid recovery provides excellent protection against future infections, and while covid will be with us for the rest of our lives, it will be something that our immune system will cope with in the way it is handling the other four widely circulating coronaviruses.

It means that we are now transitioning from the pandemic stage to the endemic stage, and we will eventually reach herd immunity, the end point of every pandemic no matter what strategy is used.

Given these numbers, why are the CDC, the FDA and the government pushing hard for all children to get vaccinated against covid? Why are some schools and universities mandating covid vaccines for children and young adults? The majority already have superior natural immunity

All of them are at minuscule risk from dying from covid even if they have not had it, a risk that is smaller than dying from any of a whole range of other causes such as motor vehicle accidents, drowning, homicide, suicide, drug overdoses or cancer. While anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in covid mortality between older and younger people. 

To sell a drug or a vaccine, we require pharmaceutical companies to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to show that it works to prevent serious health outcomes or death. Pfizer and Moderna have not done that. For adults they only showed a reduction in symptomatic disease. 

To remedy this, a recent Danish study used the RCTs to evaluate all-cause mortality. For every 100 who die in the placebo group, there are 103 deaths among mRNA vaccinees, with a 95% confidence interval of 63 to 171. This contrasts with the adenovirus-vector vaccines (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson), with 37 deaths among the vaccinees (95% CI: 19-70).

For children, we do not even have this. The randomized covid vaccine trials show that they can prevent mild disease in children without a prior covid infection, but from observational studies we know that this protection wanes rapidly. The RCTs also show that the vaccines generate antibodies in children, but 75% of American children already have superior antibodies from natural infection. 

There are no RCTs that show the vaccine prevents deaths or provides any other tangible benefit to children, while there could be harms. All vaccines come with some risks of adverse reactions, and while we know that they cause an increased risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) in young people, we do not yet have a complete picture of the safety profile for these vaccines. 

The CDC, the FDA, schools, and universities are pushing covid vaccines without having shown any benefit to the majority of children who have already had covid. It is stunning how these institutions have abandoned 2,500 years of knowledge about natural immunity. For the minority of children without a prior covid infection, the RCTs only show a short-term reduction in mild disease. 

The CDC could instead focus on catching up with regular childhood vaccines for measles, polio, and other serious childhood diseases. Those vaccinations were severely disrupted during lockdowns, and we now see an increase in measles and polio worldwide. Yet more collateral damage from two years of disastrous public health policy.

The medical establishment used to push for evidence-based medicine as a counterweight to “alternative medicine.” It is tragic how that philosophy has now been thrown out the window. If Pfizer and Moderna want these vaccines to be given to children, they should first conduct a randomized controlled trial that shows that they reduce hospitalization and all-cause mortality. They failed to do so for adults. They should not get away with that for our children.

Author

  • Martin Kulldorff, Senior Scholar of Brownstone Institute, is an epidemiologist and biostatistician specializing in infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety. He is the developer of Free SaTScan, TreeScan, and RSequential software. Most recently, he was professor at the Harvard Medical School for ten years. Co-Author of the Great Barrington Declaration. [email protected]


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