'Propaganda': Experts rip CDC study claiming vax offers stronger protection than natural immunity

The new study contradicts a much larger Israeli study this summer. 
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(TAMI CHAPPELL/Getty)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an "early release" study last week that uses a highly curated population to purportedly show that mRNA-vaccinated people have a much lower rate of reinfection by COVID-19 than naturally immune people, contradicting a much larger Israeli study this summer. 

The CDC study concludes: "All eligible persons should be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible, including unvaccinated persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2."

The study analyzed "COVID-19–like illness hospitalizations among adults" across nine states from January through Sept. 2. Because public health authorities portrayed vaccination as the best way to avoid hospitalization, it's less likely that vaccinated people would seek hospitalization, thus hiding their breakthrough infections relative to the naturally immune.

Attorney Jenin Younes, whose New Civil Liberties Alliance files legal challenges against COVID vaccine mandates, tweeted that the study contradicts a meta-analysis touted by the CDC, which found "no significant difference" in protection between vaccination and natural immunity.

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Immunologist Hooman Noorchashm, the medical expert for multiple NCLA challenges, called the study "another teleological piece of propaganda" by the CDC because it excludes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and likely includes recovered people in the vaccinated group.

Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff tweeted that the study has a "major statistical flaw" – falsely portraying hospitalized respiratory patients as "representative of the population" – which renders the odds ratio "wrong."

Former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson argued the study "is meaningless gibberish that would never have been published if the agency did not face huge political pressure to get people vaccinated." It's not even clear enough naturally immune people were hospitalized to reach statistical significance, he said, noting there's no unadjusted odds ratio.