CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is one of many Republican leaders who are supporting a bill that would require employers in the state to allow proof of a previous COVID-19 infection as an alternative to vaccination and testing.
“I think it’s about time we recognize natural immunity,” Johnson during an appearance Wednesday on “The Donlon Report”. The Wisconsin bill, which came before a public hearing Tuesday, comes at a time that highlights a new front in the battle over vaccine mandates at the heart of the nation’s COVID-19 politics.
Johnson said President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is dragging the economy and it’s affecting the health care industry.
“We’re going to really harm our ability … to staff hospitals, to staff first responders. And there’s no point to it. Now that we know that even if you’re fully vaccinated, you can get infected, you can transmit the disease, well, it’s the same thing as if you’re unvaccinated, as well. So what’s the distinction? What’s the difference?”
Republicans have challenged Biden administration vaccine rules for businesses and health care workers in court, threatening their long-term validity. As court fights move forward, Biden’s initial vaccination-or-testing mandate went into effect Monday.
Johnson blamed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and The National Institutes of Health for being behind the curve when it comes to the pandemic. He said they should have been on top of this virus from the beginning.
“They’ve totally dropped the ball on … early treatment,” he said. “We should have robustly researched and explored and we should be recommending a cornucopia of different drugs that are cheap, generic, widely available and safe to treat COVID.”
The National Vaccine Information Center, an organization that advocates against vaccine mandates, testified at Tuesday’s hearing in the Wisconsin Senate, where two witnesses from the group said natural immunity was at least as effective as vaccination.
Public health experts have also pressed for more Americans to get vaccinated, arguing vaccinations are the best way out of the pandemic. The Biden administration has also called for booster shots for most of the public as the highly contagious omicron variant sweeps through the nation.
Johnson said while he is not an anti-vaxxer, he does understand why some people are hesitant to get the jab, even after they have already gotten the virus.
“The CDC policy, health care agency policies haven’t made sense from the start. It’s about time that we actually do let the science dictate and, you know, direct our actions.”
Although the bill is likely to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal, Johnson said he believes that people are tired of hearing mixed messages from health care officials.
“I’m getting a sense the dam is breaking. I think this suppression of information, that censorship is not going to last for too long.”
He continued: “I would much rather put my faith in the doctors that are in the trenches exposing themselves … and getting COVID themselves and listen to what they have to say at least as a second or third opinion.”
The Hill contributed to this report.