Sen. James Lankford says 92 percent of United States immunized naturally or vaccinated; doctors not sure where he got that information

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Sen. James Lankford, R-OK, said 92 percent of the United States is immunized with people either being vaccinated or having natural immunity from getting the virus and recovering.

KFOR spoke to Dr. Mary Clarke, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, and received an email from Dr. Dale Bratzler, the University of Oklahoma’s chief COVID officer, Wednesday afternoon. Both said they’re not sure where the stats regarding natural immunity came from.

“Ninety-two percent of the adult population, 92 percent, either has natural immunity based on having COVID and recovered or has the vaccine,” Lankford said.

“We don’t know where he got that information either,” Clarke said.

FILE - Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks a hearing with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/New York Times, Pool via AP)
(Anna Moneymaker/New York Times, Pool via AP)

Wednesday night, the comment by Lankford made its rounds in a social media post and video.

“We’re at a very high rate of immunity right now across the country,” Lankford said.

“I don’t know any data like that in the United States,” Clarke said.

Right now, we know that about 64 percent of the U.S. population is vaccinated. Only 26 percent of the 18 and older population have received their booster shots. In his social media video, Lankford was lashing out at President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.

“In the United States of America, we make decisions for our own lives,” Lankford said.

Doctors like Clarke though, said even if the claims were true, both natural immunity and vaccinated immunity wane over time, hence the booster shots.

“The problem with COVID, it’s not chickenpox,” Clarke said. “You don’t get it once and you’re immune for life. You’re good for 6 months, 90 days for that variant. Absolutely, I will give you that. But after that, there’s no guarantee on that.”

As we head into the holiday season with cases rising, we’re seeing over 100,000 infections in the country per day with hospitalizations on the uptick as well.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to take to really get out of the full global pandemic,” Clarke said.

We reached out to Lankford’s office for clarification on his comments and as of tonight we haven’t heard back.

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