Coronavirus: Study finds unvaccinated people twice as likely to be reinfected with Covid

  • It is unclear how long immunity lasts after getting the virus, and this is further complicated by variants like the Delta strain dominating the US
  • The findings support the Centre for Disease Control’s recommendation that all eligible people receive the jab
Agence France-Presse |

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A government worker assists people queueing to get the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a school turned into a 24/7 vaccination site in Manila, Philippines. Photo: Reuters

Unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with Covid-19 as the fully vaccinated, a study by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The agency said the finding supports its recommendation “that all eligible persons be offered Covid-19 vaccination, regardless of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection status.”

Some US politicians, including Senator Rand Paul, have in the past said they do not plan to get the vaccine because of their natural immunity derived from prior infection.

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The new study was based on 246 adults in the US state of Kentucky who were reinfected in May and June this year after previously being infected in 2020.

They were compared with 492 “controls” who were matched by sex, age, and time of initial positive test.

The analysis found that unvaccinated people were 2.34 times more likely to be reinfected compared to people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Vaccinated people with the Delta variant can still be highly infectious

The duration of infection-acquired immunity remains poorly understood and may be affected by the new coronavirus variants, the paper said.

For example, laboratory studies have shown that blood samples from people previously infected with the original Wuhan strain had poor antibody responses to the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

One of the limitations of the study is it was conducted before Delta became the dominant strain in the United States.