Chairman Wenstrup: COVID-19 Naturally Acquired Immunity Could Have Been a Force Multiplier for Good

Washington, May 11, 2023 Contact:

Washington, D.C. - Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) opened today’s hearing on “Investigating Pandemic Immunity: Acquired, Therapeutic or Both” by asking why naturally acquired immunity was never considered in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman Wenstrup called attention to global research and data that quickly proved those who contracted COVID-19 had antibodies that provided some level of immunity against reinfection. He described the Biden Administration’s failure to follow the science, their creation of false narratives that misled the public, and their lack of discussion with physicians about personal, patient driven vaccine decisions. To help America prepare for a future pandemic, the Select Subcommittee will investigate these public health failures and work to hold government officials accountable for promoting inaccurate information about COVID-19 immunity.

Click here to view Chairman Wenstrup's Opening Remarks.


Below are Select Subcommittee Chairman Wenstrup’s remarks as prepared for delivery.

Today the Select Subcommittee is holding a hearing to examine the role both infection acquired – or natural immunity and therapeutic acquired or vaccine induced – immunity should have and could have played in the public health response to the pandemic and why the federal government decided to almost wholly ignore it.

In the earliest stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 was a novel virus and there simply was no data.

Again, we are not here to negate the significance of that unprecedented time.

But, as data changes so must our decision making.

And as time passed, more and more global research emerged that infection from COVID-19 produced robust naturally acquired immunity.

Let’s be absolutely clear – natural or infection acquired immunity is real. It has been known for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Dr. Fauci himself even said so in 2004.

While speaking about the common flu, he said “the most potent vaccination is getting infected yourself.”

Yes, the flu and COVID-19 are different, but the science regarding immunity is the same, and should be respected.

However, instead of following the science, public health leaders ignored the facts, and mandated vaccines for Americans without any regard for previous infection.

And did so with the threat of losing one’s job.

Nowhere in this process was there an opportunity for one to confer with their doctor, who they know and trust, to discuss risks and benefits to their health. 

That is part of the reason we are here today.

To ask why naturally acquired immunity was never robustly considered as part of U.S. public health policy.

To ask why science wasn’t followed.

It is essential that we look back and examine the policy decisions that were made.

And, at the end of the day, science and scientific facts are not political.

For a democracy to be healthy, it needs to be transparent.

And a transparent, healthy, and free nation does not shy away from the facts.

When the COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, 91 million Americans had been infected with COVID-19.

And still facts and science continued to show that those who had antibodies from previous infection had some form of protection against reinfection.

Yet the Biden Administration attempted to mandate vaccines – regardless of previous infection – for the military, healthcare workers, large private sector companies, and federal employees.

All around – this is bad public health.

Between the mandates and the vitriol showed towards natural immunity, these decisions hurt American’s trust in public health.

A trust that we hope to restore.

To be clear, no one ever advocated for a “let it rip” approach. No one ever advocated for natural immunity to be the end all public health factor; just that it was to be considered.

Natural immunity could have been a force multiplier for good.

We could have used thousands of years of science to our advantage. But instead, it was demonized.

This should have been part of a conversation between patients and physicians.

Public health needs to be educational, not an indoctrination.

Why were personal medical decisions left up to bureaucrats and the politicians not patients and doctors?

I do believe that vaccines saved innumerable lives.

We knew from the trials, that mRNA vaccinated people still got COVID.

They, in most cases, did not get as sick and were less likely to be hospitalized. We know that people with certain comorbidities were more vulnerable to severe illness and death.

Why did bureaucrats and politicians mislead and confuse the American people?

The Biden Administration and CDCs false narratives about the necessity and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster misled the public with scare tactics and deception.

These statements fostered a lack of public trust in our health authority during a time when the American people needed leadership and truth the most.

We are holding this hearing today to look back to help prepare for a future pandemic.

To determine what went wrong, to recommend how to do it better.

Asking about the reluctance of the public health elite to consider natural immunity is essential to this question.

Science is clear. While for some, no amount of protection may be enough. However, natural immunity is real. It matters. It should have been studied. It should have been considered.

And health decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis based on personal and scientific facts.

I look forward to a strong, on topic, discussion today.