Late last month, we first reported on a groundbreaking new study that appeared to "end the debate" on the subject of natural vs. vaccine-induced immunity. The study found that, when it comes to preventing serious infection with the delta variant, natural infection with a prior strain of COVID was as much as 13x more effective at preventing future infection than being fully vaccinated.
Though the research was initially ignored by the American medical establishment, on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked during an interview with CNN how he would explain this to somebody who had been previously infected and is now reluctant to get the vaccine.
Dr. Fauci's response: "I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that."
Well, if he doesn't have a good justification, then he's going to have to find one soon. Because as the Biden Administration ups the pressure on employers to force their workers to choose between their jobs and the vaccine, Spectrum Health, an extensive hospital system in Western Michigan, has just declared that prior employees (including nurses, doctors, etc.) won't be required to get the vaccine if they have already been infected.
The decision, which was made by the hospital system's medical exemption committee, was first reported by the Detroit News. Individuals with a positive PCR or antigen test plus a positive antibody test from within the past thre emonths can claim the exemption.
Spectrum Health will grant temporary exemptions from its employee vaccine mandate to individuals who can prove they have naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19.
The west Michigan hospital system, which is in the process of merging with Southfield-based Beaumont Health, will grant an exemption to those who have a positive PCR or antigen test for COVID-19 plus a positive antibody test from within the past three months, the health system said in a statement Thursday.
The exemption, the first for a major health system in Michigan, was developed "as new research has emerged" on natural immunity.
"While we still recommend vaccination for people with prior COVID-19 infection, according to this new research, there is increasing evidence that natural infection affords protection from COVID-19 reinfection and severe symptoms for a period of time," the statement said. "Current studies are not clear on how long natural immunity protects from reinfection."
The policy is subject to change if "future evidence" reveals anything new about the efficacy of natural vs. vaccine-induced protection.
The policy could be updated if future evidence shows naturally acquired protection is waning or longer lasting, or if there is a validated antibody test result showing immunity, the statement said.
Spectrum announced in late July that it would require the COVID-19 vaccine within eight weeks of the Food and Drug Administration approving a vaccine, but noted it would consider some exemptions.
Those exemptions include religious exemptions and medical exemptions determined by a medical exemption committee. The hospital system's medial exemption committee recommended the health system allow for a temporary exemption for naturally acquired immunity based on available research, the statement said.
Other nearby health systems are sticking with the federal government's recommended mandate. They include Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, Beaumont Health and Trinity Heath Michigan.
The CDC has said it's "uncommon" for those infected with COVID to become reinfected within 90 days. But nobody really knows for sure. "Experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity," the CDC says.
What they don't want you to realize is the same is true for the vaccines.