FACT FINDERS: Under vaccine mandates, why isn’t proof of natural immunity accepted?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With mandatory vaccination deadlines looming for many workers, why isn’t proof of natural immunity accepted?

There are some legal challenges to this across the nation where employees argue since they have had COVID and have natural antibodies they therefore should not have to get the vaccine to keep their job.

Travis Pacheco an attorney with Fennemore Craig says he is aware of at least two challenges in federal district court in California and Michigan involving university vaccination policies. He says in both cases the courts made a preliminary ruling the vaccine policies could proceed, at least for now.

Pacheco says part of the thinking behind this is there is limited research to show natural immunity is as effective as vaccination. He referenced a CDC study from August, which says vaccination offers higher protection than previous infection.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated. Pacheco goes on to explain more of the courts’ rationale.

”There’s a rational basis test that the courts look at and see if the policy satisfies the rational basis and the universities were able to come forward and say, ‘Look, we are trying to protect our staff members, our students and therefore had a rational basis to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19,’ and based on that they allowed the universities to continue to maintain or implement their vaccination policy,” he said.

Pacheco notes, litigation is still continuing in those cases. While this irons out in court, vaccine mandate deadlines could be approaching so any employees arguing natural immunity may have to decide whether to get the vaccine before a final conclusion.

It’s also important to note. both of these cases involved the public sector and we will need to see how this will play out in the private sector as well.

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