Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants 'Natural Immunity' Exception to Vaccine Mandates

Ralph Ellis

January 21, 2022

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

A Pennsylvania state representative says people who've had COVID-19 should be exempted from employers' vaccine mandates because they have "natural immunity."

Under Rep. Eric Nelson's idea, people would be exempted for 90 days if they can provide proof of infection or results from a state-approved lab proving they have enough antibodies in their system.

If "unable to prove continued natural immunity," employees would have 30 days to seek a religious or medical exemption, or comply with a vaccine requirement, Nelson said in a news release from the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus.

"My office has received numerous calls from constituents who have recovered from COVID-19, possess the antibodies and are afraid they may lose their jobs. This is unacceptable," Nelson said. "If the goal of the vaccine is to generate antibodies, workers who have them are already meeting that goal and should not be fired over not getting a mandated shot."

Nelson says his idea will protect the state work force.

"Many of these individuals worked tirelessly through the heart of the pandemic, before a vaccine ever existed," Nelson said. "An employee should have the right to decline if they have the antibodies."

In vaccine guidance, the CDC says that people who've already had COVID should still get vaccinated.

"Getting sick with COVID-19 offers some protection from future illness with COVID-19, sometimes called 'natural immunity." The level of protection people get from having COVID-19 may vary depending on how mild or severe their illness was, the time since their infection, and their age. No currently available test can reliably determine if a person is protected from infection," the CDC states.

Nelson said the proposal was unveiled to other House members through a memorandum and will be formally introduced as a bill later. Nelson represents the 57th District outside Pittsburgh.

Sources

Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus: "Nelson Unveils Natural Immunity Exemption Bill."

CDC: "Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination."

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