According to a new study, children with natural immunity were better protected against COVID-19 infection and hospitalization than vaccinated children.
Researchers in North Carolina found that children aged 5 to 11 with post-infection protection or natural immunity against infection with Omicron or a subvariant, and without vaccination, had protection of 88.4% against reinfection. This was compared with 59.7% protection against Omicron from a primary series of a messenger RNA vaccine, or two doses of vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna, among uninfected people.
Protection remained higher over time until month eight, when protection against natural immunity in the unvaccinated was estimated at 18.8% and protection against vaccination was set at 22.5%. .
According to the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, 50% efficacy is considered the threshold for an effective vaccine, but the efficacy of injections has remained above this mark for just a month, the researchers found.
A monovalent booster, or an interrupted booster, increased the protection of those vaccinated, including children with previous infection, by only 24.4% after one month, dropping to 19.3% after five months. A bivalent booster, or one of the new shots cleared in fall 2022, increased protection by 76.7% after a month, but armor dropped to 47.3% more than the original series after a month moreover.
The researchers did not provide separate estimates for naturally immunized and unvaccinated people, and vaccinated and infected people, against hospitalization and death.
They set the natural immunity of the 5- to 11-year-old group against hospitalization and death at 87.5% after one month, compared with 73.3% for a primary series. After three months, natural immunity was estimated at 83.8% protection against 39.3% thanks to vaccination; after six months, natural immunity was set at 76.2%, compared to 2.9% for vaccination.
Even though vaccines are licensed for the prevention of COVID-19, they have become increasingly poor at preventing infection. Authorities have turned to promoting them as a tool to prevent serious disease, but this protection has also become inferior to Omicron and its subvariants, as real-world data and studies show.
Diminishing efficacy led not only to the authorization of boosters with the same formulation as the primary series, but later to the authorization without clinical data of new boosters for the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron for all Americans aged 6 months. and older.
The North Carolina researchers drew inspiration from the North Carolina COVID-19 Surveillance System, which contains testing data and information on COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System. 19, which contains vaccination records. The study focused on North Carolina residents ages 11 and younger, from October 29, 2021 through January 6, 2023. They estimated the effectiveness of vaccination and natural immunity against infection, hospitalization and death.
The researchers did not provide estimates of the booster’s effectiveness against hospitalizations and deaths. They said there had been only one hospitalization and no deaths after receiving a booster dose.
The study population was mostly unvaccinated because most children in the United States did not receive a vaccine.
Data from children under 4 years of age were also analyzed.
Protection against Omicron infection against reinfection in all children was estimated to be 83.1% after one month. It was set at 55.7% one month after two doses of a vaccine among uninfected people. At five months, the former was 69.6% and the latter 58.6%.
Natural immunity in the youngest age group after Omicron infection was estimated to be 63.3% against hospitalization and death one month later, remaining above 50% after 10 months.
The researchers included both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the naturally immunized group and did not provide a separate estimate of the protection enjoyed by unvaccinated and naturally immunized people.
The researchers did not provide an estimate of the effectiveness of a primary series or population-based boosters against hospitalizations and deaths.
The study was published as a preprint on January 19.
The researchers said the study showed that “previous SARS-CoV-2 infection induced strong immunity against future infection, although immunity gradually waned over time” and that “infection to omicron induced strong immunity in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.” SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19.
The researchers also said the results showed that vaccination “was effective against omicron infection, hospitalization and death, although effectiveness declined over time” and that boosters “were effective”. .
“Our study showed that the incremental benefits of vaccination were similar between previously infected and uninfected children,” Dan-yu Lin, a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina, told The Epoch Times via e. -mail.
“Serious side effects are very rare. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of side effects,” he added. The study did not assess vaccine safety or symptoms of COVID-19 and Lin declined to provide evidence for the risk-benefit statement.
Research limitations include researchers who mistakenly believe that Pfizer’s primary series for children ages 0-4 includes only two doses. It’s actually three doses (pdf) because a two-dose regimen did not induce an adequate immune response, according to Pfizer. The third dose is a bivalent at the end of 2022.