Florida congressman backs bill for natural immunity from COVID-19

Bill does not detail how natural immunity will be determined

Congressman Daniel Webster has co-sponsored a bill introduced by Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee.

On Monday, a group of House Republicans introduced the Natural Immunity is Real Act. It’s the latest push against vaccine mandates by federal health officials.

The proposed bill requires federal agencies to take into account naturally acquired immunity from previous COVID-19 infection when issuing any rules or regulations aimed at protecting from COVID-19.

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Congressman Webster who represents The Villages said he is promoting this measure because of peer-reviewed studies and data from federal health experts who have acknowledged people who have recovered from COVID-19 infections have natural immunity protection.

“It’s just saying there are other options than just a vaccine,” Webster said.

He said he endorses vaccines but is explicitly against vaccine mandates and believes federal regulators should acknowledge and recognize other protections.

“This is not anti-vaccine, [it’s] just a realization that there are other things going on out there and we have to accept there are other immunities from having the disease,” Webster said.

However, some members of the medical community disagree like pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Akinyemi Ajayi.

“Here is the problem with the whole natural immunity argument, and it’s the fact that quite frankly today none of us can look you in the eye if you have not been infected with COVID at all and say if you get COVID it will be a mild infection you don’t have to worry about it,” Dr. Ajayi said.

Dr. Ajayi said while there is some natural immunity protection acquired from a repeat infection it is not clear how long it lasts. He argues there must be some verifiable way to determine natural immunity.

“The truth is if the bill or any bills that are coming through are going to allow us to verify immunity or vaccination then we might be able to have some basis for trying to mold these arguments,” he said.

The bill was also introduced in the senate. This proposal was introduced the same week Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a call for a special session in response to vaccine mandates. The bill does not detail how natural immunity will be determined.

“If people want to use the argument of that I have had the infection well they should be able to bring proof of that infection when that was,” Dr. Ajayi said.