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Opinion

I’m a forgotten victim of Covid, treated like a second-class citizen because my acquired immunity isn’t recognised

As more governments push citizens to get vaccinated or lose access to everyday venues, people like me who have recovered from Covid fall into no man’s land and are treated like our naturally acquired antibodies don’t count.

It all started last winter. The days were short and cold, I was working hard, and the French government’s 6pm curfew forced me to get up at an unholy hour each day to get things done before everything closed. 

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As a nationally ranked Masters-level competitive swimmer, I had thrown myself into maintaining a daily six-kilometre (four-mile) training regimen using the special access to otherwise closed pools my doctor-certified chronic back problem afforded me under French restrictions. So, when I noticed I was struggling a bit on the daily swim and experiencing more fatigue than usual, I chalked it up to the circumstances of life – but kept ploughing on. It was only several days later, when I was eating some Jelly Babies, that I noticed a lack of difference in taste between the flavors. It was like someone had left the sugar out of the candy.

Then it dawned on me. Could this be Covid?

I had the answer a month later, when I dropped by my local pharmacy for a rapid finger-prick antibody test. “It’s positive!” my pharmacist buddy called out over the heads of other customers, as I cheered so elatedly that it prompted one woman to congratulate me on what she thought was a positive pregnancy test. She was perplexed when I explained that it was, in fact, just proof that my body had successfully gained gold-star future immunity from the virus.

A subsequent laboratory test confirmed what my doctor described as “robust immunity”, with a high level of antibodies. And, over four months later, those antibodies were still at exactly the same level. Until those levels go down, she said – if they ever do – there’s no point interfering with it. And beyond antibodies, there are memory cells that can spring into action if I’m ever exposed again to any mutated version or variant of Covid.

Fast-forward to July 12, 2021. Just days after a blood test confirming my lasting Covid antibodies, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised national address that a “health pass” would be introduced on July 21, limiting access to everyday venues such as gyms, swimming pools, movie theatres, restaurants, and longer trips via planes, trains and buses to those with a government-issued QR code.  

To qualify, you’d need to show proof of either a full two-jab vaccination cycle, a PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours, or recovery from Covid within the past six months. Hey, that last one is me! Or so I thought…

I called the laboratory that did my Covid antibody blood tests and asked them for the QR code. It said the government doesn’t give out QR codes for positive antibody tests – only for a PCR taken up to six months ago (after which the implication is that you’ll fall back into the ‘unvaccinated’ category if you don’t succumb to the jab). But as someone who wasn’t even aware they had Covid until it was too late for a PCR test, I don’t have what they’re asking for.

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The only option I have now to continue my swimming training and live a normal life as a Covid survivor is to either have cotton swabs shoved up my chlorinated nostrils every 48 hours, or take my chances on a jab my doctor doesn’t recommend because my antibody levels are already so high that I’d be playing Russian roulette with my life and health.

And the French government isn’t the only one that won’t recognize proof of antibodies in a Covid-recovered person as proof of immunity. As a Canadian citizen with a trip back home planned this summer, the federal government’s health authorities have failed to inform me, despite repeated written requests, whether they’d classify someone with proven Covid antibody protection as “vaccinated” or “unvaccinated” – which are the only two categories Canada considers on entry. The “vaccinated” have no restrictions, whereas the “unvaccinated” have to quarantine.

Why should I – as someone with two positive Covid antibody tests and an official doctor’s note that reads “Covid immunity certificate” at the top confirming these results – be forced into quarantine and treated like my hard-earned immunity has no significance when some of us are explicitly told by our doctor not to vaccinate?

These same governments spent months making a big deal about Covid victims and our suffering. So, why does our struggle no longer matter? Why are governments forcing us to endanger our health by failing to recognise our immunity and forcing us into their bureaucratic pigeonholes?

Moreover, why isn’t anyone talking about antibodies? Can anyone actually tell us what exact level of Covid antibodies – either naturally acquired or vaccine induced – is needed to confer immunity? How many antibodies does each shot of the vaccine produce? And how does it compare to mine?

The France-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an association representing the economic interests of Franco-Russian member companies, is asking the French government to recognise those who “have recovered from Covid without being in possession of a positive PCR test result”. Why are they the only ones who seem to be talking about this?

The fact that Western governments, like those of France and Canada, don’t even want to acknowledge the existence of positive antibody tests is an aberration that effectively renders Covid victims with natural antibodies second-class citizens. The fact they want to force us to choose between our freedom or risking our health with a jab explicitly discouraged by our doctors is nothing short of criminal.

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