Republicans who oppose the COVID-19 vaccine mandates are turning to a new argument against the US government’s attempts to make them mandatory: natural immunity.

They argue that people who have recovered from the virus have sufficient immunity and antibodies not to need COVID-19 vaccines, and the concept has been invoked by Republicans as a kind of substitute for vaccines.

Florida incorporated natural immunity into state law this week as Republican lawmakers in other parts of the country are pushing for similar measures to circumvent vaccine mandates.

Lawsuits against the mandates have also started to take the idea into consideration. Conservative federal lawmakers have implored regulators to take it into account when formulating mandates.

Scientists acknowledge that those who have suffered from COVID-19 have some level of immunity, but insist that vaccines offer a more consistent level of protection. Furthermore, natural immunity is far from uniform.

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