COVID-19 infection gives people strong and long-lasting protection

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Scientists from Providence found the level of protection granted by a prior COVID-19 infection among unvaccinated people was on par with the level of protection provided by mRNA vaccines.

In fact, natural immunity provides a longer window of protection than mRNA vaccines.

The research is published in JAMA Network Open and was conducted by Ari Robicsek et al.

The study was conducted before the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant in the United States.

In the study, the team found that before the emergence of the omicron variant, natural immunity provided a similar degree of protection against COVID-19 infection as mRNA vaccination.

They examined data from over 100,000 patients tested for SARS-COV-2 at 1,300 sites of care across Providence’s extensive health care system between October 1, 2020 and November 1, 2021.

The researchers found that prior COVID-19 infection was 85% protective against reinfection and 88% protective against hospitalization, with protection from reinfection lasting for up to nine months following the initial infection.

The team says the data is key to helping us understand the strength and longevity of natural immunity and allows us to compare the effectiveness of a prior infection with mRNA vaccines.

The results provide new insight into the length of protection following an initial infection among the unvaccinated population and could have important implications for vaccination guidelines and public health policy.

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For more information about Covid, please see recent studies that COVID-19 booster shots prompt stronger, longer protection than original shots, and results showing breakthrough COVID infections very mild for vaccinated people.

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