By Dr. Joseph Mercola
The CDC wrongly stated on its website that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was highly effective in people previously infected with the virus. It took multiple calls to the CDC and more than a month before the agency finally corrected the error —but the new language is still misleading.
- Rep. Thomas Massie, (R-Ky.), looked into whether he should still get a COVID-19 vaccine since he’d already had the infection, uncovering research that showed vaccination offered no benefit to those who have previously been infected.
- In a high-profile report issued by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 15 scientists stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had “consistent high efficacy” of 92% or more among people with evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- According to Massie, the CDC’s statement is wrong and there is no efficacy demonstrated in Pfizer’s or Moderna’s trials among participants with evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infections.
- It took multiple calls to the CDC and more than a month before the agency finally corrected the error, but Massie believes the wording still misleadingly suggests vaccination is effective for those previously infected.
Your immune system is designed to work in response to exposure to an infectious agent. Upon recovery, you’re typically immune to that infectious agent. In the case of COVID-19, however, public health officials have been reluctant to suggest that those who have recovered are now immune — and therefore have no need for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Rep. Thomas Massie, (R-Ky.), is among those who had COVID-19 and recovered. As a scientist, he looked into whether he should still get a COVID-19 vaccine, uncovering research that showed vaccination offered no benefit to those who have previously been infected. “The controversy began,” according to Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure report, “when Massie noticed the CDC was claiming the exact opposite.”
CDC report ‘wrong’ about vaccine’s effectiveness
In a high-profile report issued by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 15 scientists stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had “consistent high efficacy” of 92% or more among people with evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.
But according to Massie, “That sentence is wrong. There is no efficacy demonstrated in the Pfizer trial among participants with evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infections and actually there’s no proof in the Moderna trial either.” In France, the health body la Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) does not recommend routinely vaccinating those who have already recovered from COVID-19, stating:
“At this stage, there is no need to systematically vaccinate people who have already developed a symptomatic form of Covid-19 unless they wish to do so following a decision shared with the doctor and within a minimum period of time. 3 months from the onset of symptoms.”
Yet, the CDC suggests everyone who’s had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated: “Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.”
CDC notified of error, doesn’t fix it
When Massie realized that vaccination didn’t change the risk of infection among people who’ve had COVID-19, he was alarmed and contacted the CDC directly, recording his calls. “It [the CDC report] says the exact opposite of what the data says. They’re giving people the impression that this vaccine will save your life, or save you from suffering, even if you’ve already had the virus and recovered, which has not been demonstrated in either the Pfizer or the Moderna trial.”
Massie first spoke with Dr. Amanda Cohn, the lead for the vaccine planning unit of the CDC’s COVID-19 response.7 On Dec. 16, she told Massie, “People who have had disease, given that there’s limited doses right now, we’re, we are suggesting that those people wait.”
Cohn also thanked Massie for bringing it to her attention that their claim that vaccines are effective in people who’ve previously had COVID-19 is a mistake, and implied that it would be fixed. Cohn said:
“I think we read that thing so many times that when, you know, we just skipped right over it. We know we can’t be perfect, we know we’re gonna miss things. You will forever after be known in our office as ‘Eagle-Eyed Man.’”
Two days later, however, Cohn told medical professionals in an online session that people with prior infection are likely to benefit from vaccination. A month after that, the false information remained on the CDC’s website, Massie, said, prompting another call.
This time, Massie spoke with the CDC’s Washington, D.C., director Anstice Brand, who talked in circles. “So I called them up on Tuesday, as soon as I could, to ask them why it hadn’t been fixed,” Massie told Attkisson. “And it was like, I was starting all over with the same people. And instead of fixing it, they proposed repeating it and just phrasing their mistake differently.”
Massie also spoke with CDC scientist Dr. Sara Oliver, who was part of the online session that gave out misinformation to medical professionals and is also an author of the flawed CDC report. He said, “There was an error and I noticed you are an author on it and I wondered if I could get your help in getting this error corrected. You can’t say it’s efficacious for people with prior infection. That’s an absolutely untrue sentence.”
Oliver responded, “Yeah, I mean, we’re — we’re still recommending that individuals who have prior infection receive the vaccine.” When he pushed further, she said, “Okay. I — I can, um, I can talk with MMWR, and with Dr. Cohn and see, if, if we can tweak that language a little bit.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.