Community health
Past Covid-19 infections provide similar levels of immunity to vaccine

By - Integrated Care Journal

A new report from Public Health England (PHE) has found that past Covid-19 infections provide up to 83 per cent of protection against reinfection. A similair rate of immunity provided by the current crop of Covid-19 vaccines.

Almost a year after the first Covid-19 infection was detected in the UK, PHE has confirmed that people who have had the virus are likely to be protected against reinfection for several months. Between 18 June and 24 November, scientists detected 44 potential reinfections (2 ‘probable’ and 42 ‘possible’ reinfections) out of 6,614 participants who had tested positive for antibodies.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many scientists have wondered whether or not someone who had Covid-19 could be reinfected, this report provides clear evidence that previous infection provides high levels of immunity. However, PHE warned that those with immunity may still be able to carry the virus in their nose and throat and therefore can still infected others. “It is therefore crucial that everyone continues to follow the rules and stays at home, even if they have previously had Covid-19, to prevent spreading the virus to others,” the report says.

Professor Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor at Public Health England and the SIREN study lead said: “We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts. Crucially, we believe people may still be able to pass the virus on. ”

He also said that although this study has provided “the clearest picture to date” of the nature of antibody protection against Covid-19, it is important that people do not misunderstand these early findings.

The study will continue to follow participants for 12 months to explore how long any immunity may last, the effectiveness of vaccines and to what extent people with immunity can carry and transmit the virus.

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