By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — A state lawmaker is asking Gov. Tony Evers and other policymakers to follow the science on the power of natural immunity.
Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwanago) has authored a bill that would provide relief for employers and employees trapped under President Joe Biden’s national vaccine mandate. The measure allows individuals to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test or proof of antibodies for COVID-19 in order to comply with any employer-required COVID-19 vaccines or testing.
Horlacher said he opposes federal and state mandates forcing individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. He said he’s trying to lessen the grip of government overreach, using science to do it.
“I’ve heard time and time again form constituents, employees and employers who say, ‘We don’t want to be sued by the feds or have our licenses shut down or lose our jobs for not complying (with the vaccine mandate),’” the lawmaker told Empower Wisconsin. “Here’s another avenue to give flexibility to employers and employees.”
Last month, Biden issued an executive order mandating all private-sector workers at companies with more than 100 employees get vaccinated. And health care workers at facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also fall under the mandate. In total, nearly 100 million Americans ostensibly fall under Biden’s order, with companies threatening to fire employees if they refuse to get the shot.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers has ordered mandatory weekly testing for state workers who decline the vaccine.
Concerns are growing that, even at small percentages, workers who are fired for failing to follow the mandate will only exacerbate a crisis-level worker shortage in Wisconsin and nationally.
As Biden and Evers and other policymakers push vaccine-exclusive strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19, they ignore or diminish the power of natural immunity. They do so at the peril of effective infection management and at the defiance of their “follow the science” mantra, according to Marty Makary, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, editor-in-chief of Medpage.
“It’s okay to have an incorrect scientific hypothesis. But when new data proves it wrong, you have to adapt,” Makary wrote in the Washington Post. “Unfortunately, many elected leaders and public health officials have held on far too long to the hypothesis that natural immunity offers unreliable protection against covid-19 — a contention that is being rapidly debunked by science.”
Debunked at a massive scale.
A 700,000-person study in Israel in late August found the natural immune protection that develops after COVID infection provides a considerably greater defense against the dreaded Delta variant than two doses of the popular Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The study demonstrates the power of the human immune system, but infectious disease experts emphasized that vaccines for COVID-19 nonetheless remain highly protective against severe disease and death, according to a study review in Science Magazine, the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
As of Monday, there had been more than 756,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin over the run of the pandemic, according to the Department of Health Services. The vast majority of the people who have contracted the virus have recovered.
“I am proud to support all options for workers. Many of my constituents have reached out to me worried about being able to keep their jobs, to support their families and communities,” Horlacher said in a press release. “This is one way that we can ensure that individual freedom is protected.”