Sens. Braun, Lankford demand White House, HHS recognize natural immunity from COVID

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EXCLUSIVE: GOP senators are calling on the Biden administration to publicize data on the effectiveness of natural immunity in preventing additional cases of COVID-19, arguing the White House is too concerned with mandates to recognize that millions of Americans have already built up natural antibodies from a prior infection. 

GOP Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced the “Natural Immunity Transparency Act” in the Senate and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas is sponsoring the companion bill in the House to require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide data to Congress on the efficacy of natural immunity from COVID-19. 

Sen. James Lankford on Oct. 19, 2021. 
(Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS)

Their legislation would require HHS to report data on the number of unvaccinated people who recovered from COVID-19 and then were infected with an additional case of coronavirus. The bill also requires HHS to provide data on the number of people who were fully vaccinated who developed “breakthrough cases” of COVID-19.

“The Biden Administration is so obsessed with their vaccine mandates that they refuse to even evaluate or release information on those who have acquired natural immunity to COVID-19,” Lankford said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Natural immunity is a component of reducing the spread of COVID-19, along with vaccines. We simply want the Biden Administration to provide the American people with the most accurate natural immunity data, so Americans can make their own decisions and better understand the reality of our current COVID circumstances.”

The lawmakers point to a limited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in January of New York and California COVID-19 cases that documented the benefits of natural immunity.

Before Delta became the predominant variant in June, vaccinated people had fewer COVID-19 infections than those who had prior immunity, the study found. But by early October, the trend had reversed and people who survived a prior COVID-19 infection had lower infection rates than those with just the vaccination. 

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., on June 23, 2021.
(Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

The highest hospitalization rates between May and November 2021 were among people who were unvaccinated and didn’t have a previous COVID-19 infection, the study said. 

“Just last month, the CDC released data that demonstrated natural immunity was 3-4 times as effective in preventing COVID-19 compared with vaccination,” Braun said in a statement. “The Biden Administration needs to release the full data on natural immunity from HHS instead of imposing heavy-handed mandates and confusing guidance that have gotten in the way of our recovery. Americans deserve full transparency and answers.”

The request for information comes as the Biden Administration still has a vaccine mandate for members of the military and certain health care workers, while the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s sweeping vaccination-or-test mandate for private businesses with at least 100 employees. 

Meanwhile, certain local governments, including Washington, D.C., are requiring proof of vaccination to enter private businesses – drawing scorn from GOP members of Congress who rallied behind one DC bar, the Big Board, that was resisting the mandate. 

HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital on whether it has data on natural immunity.

A driver places a swab into a vial at a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

“They are either unwilling to provide, or negligently not tracking, critical information to the American people on natural immunity acquired from a previous COVID infection while pushing unconstitutional and wrong-headed vaccine mandates with the power of government,” Roy said of the Biden administration. 

In the United States, 76.8 million people have contracted COVID-19 and more than 903,000 people have died, according to the CDC. More than 251 million people in the United States have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. 

The CDC says getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the shots are highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death.

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