James Martin, a Jesuit priest and the editor-at-large of America Magazine, criticized Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson after Johnson chastised people who trust COVID-19 vaccines over the "natural immunity" he attributes to God.
During an appearance on a conservative radio program, Johnson downplayed the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and insisted that natural immunity poses a more valuable hinderance to the virus.
You can hear what Johnson said in the audio below.
“Why do we assume that the body’s natural immune system isn’t the marvel that it is? Why do we think that we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease?”
“There are certain things we have to do, but we have just made so many assumptions, and it’s all pointed toward everybody getting a vaccine.”
Johnson's remarks prompted a response from Martin, who tore into the Senator with the following remark:
"So much for God creating us with brains."
Martin's response only further underscore that Johnson's claims are incorrect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long debunked claims natural immunity is more beneficial than the vaccine.
In fact, a study published in August showed "unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus."
It also pointed out COVID-19 vaccines "offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections."
The agency continues to stress the importance of getting the vaccine as the best line of defense against COVID-19.
"COVID-19 vaccines remain safe and effective. They prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
"Additionally, even among the uncommon cases of COVID-19 among the fully or partially vaccinated vaccines make people more likely to have a milder and shorter illness compared to those who are unvaccinated. CDC continues to recommend everyone 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19."
Many have praised Martin for his response and joined him in his criticisms of Johnson
Johnson is nonetheless far from the only prominent Republican to spread misinformation about COVID-19 immunity.
During an appearance at a Turning Point USA conference last month, former Alaska Republican Governor Sarah Palin insisted she would get a COVID-19 vaccine "over my dead body," telling the crowd of conservatives she doesn't need to be inoculated because she previously had the virus.
Palin, who has often downplayed the pandemic's severity since it began and earned applause from conservative organizations in the process, pushed the "herd immunity" argument in her remarks to host Charlie Kirk. She has previously, ironically, promoted mask-wearing, particularly after she herself caught COVID-19 last spring.