“I am aware that he is correct because of a recent experience with a member of my family,” Chamberlain writes of the remark Dr. Joseph Ladapo made last week. “He had a severe infection from COVID-19. He is past that now and is completely immune — not only for COVID-19 but flu and other respiratory infections as well.”
Then comes the tragic twist: “Of course, we are burying this family member next week.”
Chamberlain wrote the letter following the Covid-19 death of his son’s father-in-law this month, he said. The father-in-law was vaccinated and died from Covid-19, a family member confirmed to CNN.
Chamberlain’s letter takes aim at Ladapo’s position on natural immunity and the protection it offers, which the doctor addressed in a September 21 news conference with the governor.
“You don’t need to go to medical school to look at the data and see that there’s really great protection” offered by getting infected with and recovering from Covid-19, Ladapo said. “There’s tremendous data that supports the fact that natural immunity protects people from getting very ill, also protects people from being infected again. So that’s what it is, and that’s great.”
Ladapo told reporters “vaccines are up to the person,” noting that they “prevent the risk of serious illness,” but “people get to make the choice about what they want to do with that information.”
Asked if the state should do more to promote vaccination, Ladapo told reporters the state should promote “good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path to that.”
Chamberlain acknowledged that natural immunity exists, but criticized Ladapo’s emphasis of it.
“To see a person who should give honest advice telling people you can be indifferent to everything we knew of medical practice, that is an absolute betrayal of public office,” he told CNN.
The Florida Department of Health has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment about Chamberlain’s letter.
‘This took out a good friend of mine’
“Reinfection can reasonably happen in three months or less,” Jeffrey Townsend, a professor of biostatistics at the Yale School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “Therefore, those who have been naturally infected should get vaccinated. Previous infection alone can offer very little long-term protection against subsequent infections.”
“Often I’m not angry when I write a letter (to the editor),” Chamberlain said. “But I think this time I really was, because this took out a good friend of mine.”
Chamberlain’s relative was not the type of person who would follow Ladapo’s advice, he said. He was a “dear friend,” Chamberlain said, and “a wonderful father,” who spent many years working as a corrections officer and playing in his church’s handbell choir.
“He wasn’t being careless or derelict in his personal responsibility,” Chamberlain said, likening it to driving carefully but still getting involved in an accident.
“I have driven a car for 60 years — I have never caused a collision, but I’ve been hit four times by people who ran into me.
“That’s the insidious thing about this infection,” he said. “People can be very cautious, do everything right, and you still get that.”
About 70% of breakthrough cases resulting in hospitalization were among adults 65 and older and about 87% of breakthrough cases resulting in death were among adults 65 and older, the data suggests.