Oct 22 (DailyMirror) – People who both had Covid-19 and are vaccinated don’t need to rush to get the boosters, health experts say.
Several studies suggest that people who have had Covid-19 and were fully vaccinated have strong protection, including against variants, and probably don’t need the boost, though the research is preliminary and data is incomplete, according to scientists who specialize in vaccines and immunology.
More is known about people who had Covid-19 and then were vaccinated, scientists said, than those who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.
The studies suggest a Covid-19 exposure effectively serves as a dose of the vaccine, scientists said. Like a vaccine dose, the real-world infection prompts the immune system to generate the antibodies, B cells and T cells that could fight off the virus in the future.
People who were infected and vaccinated “just won the game,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel on vaccines, who supports boosters for older adults but not a widespread campaign this time. “I wouldn’t ask them to get a booster dose. I think they just got it” by exposure to the coronavirus.
Last week, researchers affiliated with the ZOE Covid Study app, which is for people in the U.K. to self-report symptoms and test results, said real-world infection followed by two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot provided 94% protection up to six months after vaccination, compared with 80% protection from vaccination alone or 65% from only infection.
The researchers, who reported the results via press release, based the findings on more than 650,000 Covid-19 test results reported by app users. The findings weren’t peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.
The strong protection provided by the combination of real-world infection and vaccination doesn’t mean people may not eventually need a booster, scientists said.
Meanwhile, some people with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions might want to get a booster soon, the scientists said.
Another factor that people who were infected and vaccinated should weigh before getting a booster is whether the extra dose could raise their potential risk of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart that is rare but most common in younger men after their second dose of a messenger RNA vaccine, said Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor University’s National School of Tropical Medicine.
Several studies show the vaccines remain effective at protecting against severe disease and hospitalization but may lose strength guarding against infection or milder symptomatic illness.