Search our database of publications on vaccines for COVID-19. These include published scientific papers, preprints and policy reports, and all are from teams based in the UK.
Little is known about protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection following previous infection with specific individual SARS-CoV-2 variants, COVID-19 vaccination, and a combination of previous infection and vaccination (hybrid immunity) in adolescents. We aimed to estimate protection against symptomatic PCR-confirmed infection with the delta (B.1.617.2) and omicron (B.1.1.529) variants in adolescents with previous infection, mRNA vaccination, and hybrid immunity.
We conducted an observational, test-negative, case-control study using national SARS-CoV-2 testing and COVID-19 mRNA vaccination data in England. Symptomatic adolescents aged 12–17 years who were unvaccinated or had received primary BNT162b2 immunisation at symptom onset and had a community SARS-CoV-2 PCR test were included. Vaccination and previous SARS-CoV-2 infection status in adolescents with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 (cases) were compared with vaccination and previous infection status in adolescents who had a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test (controls). Vaccination data were collected from the National Immunisation Management System, and were linked to PCR testing data. The primary outcome was protection against SARS-CoV-2 delta and omicron infection (defined as 1 – odds of vaccination or previous infection in cases divided by odds of vaccination or previous infection in controls).
Between Aug 9, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 1161704 SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests were linked to COVID-19 vaccination status, including 390 467 positive tests with the delta variant and 212 433 positive tests with the omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2. In unvaccinated adolescents, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection with wildtype, alpha (B.1.1.7), or delta strains provided greater protection against subsequent delta infection (>86·1%) than against subsequent omicron infection (<52·4%); previous delta or omicron infection provided similar protection against omicron reinfection (52·4% [95% CI 50·9–53·8] vs 59·3% [46·7–69·0]). In adolescents with no previous infection, vaccination provided lower protection against omicron infection than against delta infection, with omicron protection peaking at 64·5% (95% CI 63·6–65·4) at 2–14 weeks after dose two and 62·9% (60·5–65·1) at 2–14 weeks after dose three, with waning protection after each dose. Adolescents with hybrid immunity from previous infection and vaccination had the highest protection, irrespective of the SARS-CoV-2 strain in the primary infection. The highest protection against omicron infection was observed in adolescents with vaccination and previous omicron infection, reaching 96·4% (95% CI 84·4–99·1) at 15–24 weeks after vaccine dose two.
Previous infection with any SARS-CoV-2 variant provided some protection against symptomatic reinfection, and vaccination added to this protection. Vaccination provides low-to-moderate protection against symptomatic omicron infection, with waning protection after each dose, while hybrid immunity provided the most robust protection. Although more data are needed to investigate longer-term protection and protection against infection with new variants, these data question the need for additional booster vaccine doses for adolescents in populations with already high protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.