Vaccine protection stronger if previously infected by coronavirus

Vaccine protection is stronger for those previously infected by coronavirus, study finds

  • Those previously infected by coronavirus are more protected by Pfizer vaccine
  • Antibody levels against South African and Brazilian variants are 15 times higher 
  • The study took blood samples from 237 vaccinated NHS workers aged 22 to 71 

Vaccines may work better in people who have already had Covid – and could more effectively protect against the South African and Brazilian variants.

Those previously infected with coronavirus produced almost seven times the amount of antibodies after a single Pfizer jab compared to people who have not had the virus.

Their antibody levels against the South African and Brazilian variants were also 15 times higher, a study shows. And they had seven times more T-cells – the vital immune cells which react to the virus.

Those previously infected with coronavirus produced almost seven times the amount of antibodies after a single Pfizer jab compared to people who have not had the virus. Pictured, a healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine

Infected people had a level of protection after just one jab which others had to wait for their second jab to achieve, the study found. 

Co-author Dr Thushan de Silva, of the University of Sheffield, said: ‘Having high T-cell and antibody immunity in previously infected people after vaccination may provide a better defence – giving us an advantage in the ongoing battle between variants and vaccines.’

Infected people had a level of protection after just one jab which others had to wait for their second jab to achieve, the study found. Pictured, the Pfizer vaccine

The study took blood samples from 237 vaccinated NHS workers aged 22 to 71.

The antibody level four weeks after the first dose was 6.8 times higher in previously infected people than non-infected people.

Those who have had Covid still need to be vaccinated as immunity fades over time. The study, funded by the Department of Health, has not yet been published or reviewed. 

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