Discover more from Counter Disinformation Project
"Immunity Debt"? Established 2021
The term didn't exist before 2021
Since 2021 Immunity debt has been used to explain why people, in particular children should be exposed to infectious diseases, the concept is that not being regularly exposed to pathogens their immune systems are unprepared when they do encounter them. The concept has been cited as a lockdown harm and as a reason why masks and in some cases even ventilation and clean air should not be used as mitigation measures in schools. It has been argued by some paediatricians in the UK and elsewhere that due to immunity debt infections don’t just catch up but overshoot.
Immunity debt is a form of extension of hygiene dogma, in practise it looks a lot like an extension of the thinking that supported herd immunity by infection as a strategy to handling the pandemic.
Thanks for reading Counter Disinformation Project! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
It is worth noting that those who raise concerns about immunity debt are generally the same people who initially claimed children were considerably less likely to be infected and didn’t contribute significantly to transmission. These are also generally the same people who still claim the majority of covid infections in children occur outside of schools. This is despite contact tracing and testing studies demonstrating the direction of transmission, the latest being a comprehensive study from Italy.
Although there had been some reporting in May 2021, immunity debt entered the public lexicon late June 2021 after a Wall Street Journal article went viral.
Post-Covid-19, World Risks Having to Pay Off ‘Immunity Debt’
Many people had little exposure to common viruses during social distancing, meaning bugs could spread more quickly once countries reopen. By Miho Inada
Robert Cohen, a professor at a pediatric research center near Paris called Activ, calls this “immunity debt.”
Cohen quoted a paper from December 2020.
The impact of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions on the future dynamics of endemic infections
Rachel E. Baker, Sang Woo Park, Wenchang Yang, Gabriel A. Vecchi, C. Jessica E. Metcalf, and Bryan T. Grenfell
In the next few weeks a number of news outlets around the world published their own version of the Wall Street Journal article citing the same sources. Various experts and professionals with large platforms online also drew attention to the articles treating immunity debt as a well established concept.
But there’s a problem with this, before 2021 no one had used the term immunity debt.
Several people have gone in search for the origins of immunity debt.
PubMed is a searchable database of scientific papers, a reliable resource used across the globe.
This thread comes with the evidence of a thorough search for use of the term immunity debt. Full details of searches are provided for proof if you read the full thread, I’ve cut this down to the narrative.
The French paper from May does appear to be the beginning point of the immunity debt story.
The paper itself is far from conclusive.
Next in June there was a paper (published in September) from Rabia Agha a paediatrician in Brooklyn, while not using the term immunity debt, this is one of the papers quoted by other papers that came later.
Agha is quoted in the Wall Street Journal article that introduced the term into the public debate.
It’s worth noting the Wall Street Journal article began by saying French doctors are “calling it immunity debt”.
Just over a week later the Guardian published a story about immunity debt in New Zealand.
Once again it is the media outlet coining the term immunity debt not those being interviewed, besides reference to the French May 2021 paper.
The next day the Independent ran the same story.
And so did the Express.
And the Evening Standard, all on the same day.
12 July the Independent ran another story and the BBC’s Newsnight had a section on immunity debt. 14 July Sky News ran the story and on the 16 July Global News raised immunity debt in Canada.
This is how one unconvincing paper and the Wall Street Journal seeded the idea of immunity debt which was then repeated and amplified by other media sources. From being mentioned in a single paper released in May, by mid July immunity debt was being treated as a well established and well known part of scientific literature.
It’s astounding that the same people who dismiss so many studies as lacking rigour or not being valid because there isn’t a RCT were so quick to adopt immunity debt when you consider the time it took for covid to be accepted as being airborne, how long some have continued to debate masks, and how air filtration is still not accepted as a means to reducing transmission. The high standards required to justify measures in schools dissipated like a puff of smoke when a concept to argue against measures in schools was encountered.
Clare Craig of HART, Pandata, PCRclaims…
Was wrong again.
Although some disagree.
After July 2021 immunity debt had become an established fact, letting children get infected by a range of diseases was now to be celebrates as paying back the debt early and the analogies with financial debt continued with talk of paying back with interest. Immunity debt was treated as a balance against any measures to reduce covid, a narrative developed suggesting immunity debt might be more of a concern than covid. When concerns were raised regarding hepatitis cases in children immunity debt was suggested as a cause.
Meanwhile the evidence base for immunity debt remains debateable.