A bill declaring prior COVID-19 infections—and thus natural immunity—must be treated the same as having received a COVID-19 "vaccine" has become law in Tennessee.
The bill states, "the immune protection gained from a prior COVID-19 infection is at least as protective against COVID-19 as a COVID-19 vaccine." It continues, adding, "there is, therefore, no rational basis to treat individuals who have had a previous COVID-19 infection differently than individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine."
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The legislation became law on Apr. 29 without Governor Bill Lee's signature. Gov. Lee intentionally declined to sign the bill, stating in a letter to Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton:
"I write to inform you that I am letting SB 1982 / HB 1871 become law without my signature. Although I agree that individuals with acquired immunity should be treated the same as individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19, this bill imposes a business mandate, and businesses should be allowed to operate without undue government interference."
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), who is a physician. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 26-5 and the House with a vote of 66-20.
The bill defines naturally acquired immunity as "an acquired specific immune system response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus [that is] acquired naturally as a result of an individual's prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus."
According to the law, natural immunity can be verified by a letter from a licensed physician or documentation from a lab test showing antibody, memory cell, or T cell immunity.
The law states that "a governmental entity, local education agency, or school shall not adopt or enforce a statute, ordinance, rule, policy, or practice arising from COVID-19" that fails to recognize the amendments adopted by the new legislation. And the same stipulations apply to private businesses. Specifically, no measure can be put in place that:
- Fails to recognize acquired immunity as providing a level of immune protection that is at least as protective as a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Treats individuals with acquired immunity differently than individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier this year, the Tennessee sub-committee on Health heard bills about natural immunity, Ivermectin, patients' rights, and doctor-pharmacists rights to prescribe and fill. Several experts, including Dr. Paul Marik, Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. Richard Urso, and Dr. Ryan Cole, attended and gave live testimony. Last month, the state passed a law that made Ivermectin available without a prescription.