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Arkansas legislator proposes law that treats 'natural immunity' same as COVID-19 vaccine

A Republican state senator shared that he wants to propose a law that would treat "natural immunity" the same as a COVID-19 vaccine.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas State Senator Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) said he has a filed a bill on Tuesday that would treat "natural immunity" the same as a vaccine for COVID-19.

Garner tweeted out a draft of the bill that states that if "proof of natural immunity is provided, natural immunity to [COVID-19] shall be treated the same as a vaccination or immunization for [COVID-19]."

The Republican legislator claimed that "natural immunity is as strong a protection from COVID-19 as vaccination."

"It is time for Arkansas to recognize natural immunity with the same degree as vaccination rates," he continued.

According to the National Institutes of Health, people who recovered from COVID-19 had immune protection up to eight months after infection.

But health officials and scientists recommend people get vaccinated even for people who have contracted the virus.

A study published in August by the CDC stated that "being unvaccinated was associated with 2.34 times the odds of reinfection" compared to someone who fully vaccinated.

In early September, NPR reported on the effectiveness of "hybrid immunity." Studies have shown people with this type of immunity have a powerful immune response against COVID-19. A person would have this type of immunity if they were infected with the virus in 2020 and then received the vaccine in 2021.

Legislators in the state will reconvene on Wednesday, Sept. 29 to discuss redistricting and laws regarding COVID-19.

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