It’s been a bad year for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I first wrote about this in February when new CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky backtracked her recommendations regarding reopening schools without teacher vaccinations after the teachers unions objected. (CDC Credibility Gone) Apparently, the White House let her know she must change her opinion if she wants to keep her job.
Seven months later the CDC is still underwater when it comes to its credibility. Dr. Marty Makary, professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tells us in The Wall Street Journal the CDC has failed to provide the information needed to inform a sound Covid strategy. Despite a wealth of data from our own Covid experience, he says the CDC is relying mostly on studies out of Israel to make policy decisions.
The Biden administration can’t rely on CDC studies to justify its booster vaccination plans since they have no studies of their own. Studies from Israel show that a booster resulted in a 10-fold reduction in severe Covid illness in people over 60. The results were published mere weeks after the study’s completion, not months later as often happens in the U.S.
Makary wants to know why the CDC didn’t produce their own research to answer these questions. The agency has 21,000 employees and a $15 billion annual budget. It has data on more than 40 million Americans who have tested positive for Covid and 200 million who have been vaccinated. This data includes vaccine type, dosing schedule, and vaccination date. With this data, calculating the rate of U.S. breakthrough infections and deaths he calls Epidemiology 101.
He also criticizes their lack of vital data on natural immunity – the protection patients receive when they recover from Covid infection. Israel published an important study he calls “powerful and scientifically rigorous” on this subject to date. In a study sample of more than 700,000 people, natural immunity was 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic infections. Yet U.S. public health officials continue to dismiss natural immunity, insisting that those who have recovered from Covid must still be vaccinated. This opinion is being parroted by the media and other policy makers who are sticking by their original hypothesis that natural immunity is fleeting, even though at least 15 separate studies show it lasts.
Dr. Makary says, “The CDC shouldn’t fish for data to support outdated hypotheses. Heeding the robust Israeli data on natural immunity could help restore the agency’s credibility and even help vaccination efforts.”
There is also important information coming out of Israel regarding vaccinations in children. Researchers found that one dose of Pfizer vaccine, instead of the normal two, was 100% effective in children ages 12 to 15. This is a significant finding since it could have huge implications for achieving broad immunity in adolescents while reducing the risk of heart complications, which have been seen in some after the second dose.
Dr. Makary concludes, “These are the studies U.S. public health agencies should be doing but aren’t. By any metric, the CDC has failed in its primary task of preparing the country for a pandemic and telling us how to reduce harm from the novel Covid pathogen.”
The CDC is our primary health agency whose mission is to accurately inform us on matters concerning our health and the prevention of disease. Sadly, they are failing in this mission and letting politics interfere with good science. In a perfect world, we could rely on them to provide us the most up-to-date scientific research to inform policy makers, but it seems the policy makers are the ones informing the CDC.