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Natural immunity as effective as vaccine against Covid

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 Vaccinating children against the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may be unnecessary—they get almost as much protection from catching the virus itself, researchers have discovered.

Natural immunity is just as protective as Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, say researchers from University of Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Children who’ve had Covid have a 90.7 percent immunity level against another Omicron infection, while immunity after vaccination is 94.3 percent.  The vaccine was particularly effective in children who had been infected before they had the vaccine; the vaccine provided a 63 percent protection rate in children who had never had Covid, but this rose to 69 percent in those who had been previously infected.

The researchers analysed data from 887,000 children aged between five and 11; of these, 193,346 had a Covid infection, and 309 needed hospital care, seven of whom died.  Around 273,000 of the children had been given at least one dose of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.  

The vaccine and previous infection gave the children “considerable immunity”, the researchers said.  However, vaccine protection was short lived, and it quickly waned.

New England Journal of Medicine, 2022; doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2209371

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