Covid-19: vaccination, infection… in which case are you best protected against serious forms of the disease?

the essential
While the number of hospitalizations linked to Covid-19 continues to increase in France, two studies are looking at the immunity acquired after infection with the virus and after vaccination. The verdict is clear: it is better to get vaccinated after being infected with the virus.

Is your body better protected against SARS-CoV-2 after being infected or vaccinated? Two teams of researchers have tried to answer this question! Two studies published this Friday, April 1 in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases come to the conclusion that he it is better to get vaccinated after being infected with the virus. The immunity conferred after a Covid-19 infection would thus be reinforced after vaccination.

Boosting immunity…

The first of these two studies was carried out in Brazil: the country has been hard hit by the pandemic, nearly 660,000 deaths linked to the virus have been recorded for two and a half years. The work was based on clinical data from nearly 200,000 Brazilians infected with the virus. A sample of sick people did not receive any doses of vaccine. After a period of observation, a portion of these patients were given a vaccine dose from Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Johnson & Johnson-Janssen.

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The finding? “These four vaccines prove to give additional and substantial protection to people already infected with Covid-19 before,” says Julio Croda, co-author of the study, who explains that with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the risks of hospitalizations and deaths are for example reduced by almost 90% after an injection and contamination.

… over time

The second study, carried out in Sweden, is in line with the first. The document thus affirms that people who have been infected with the virus and who have been vaccinated after being contaminated benefit from high immunity for about twenty months. This scheme would also reduce the risk of reinfection by more than 65%.

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The fact remains that these two studies were carried out well before the appearance and spread of the Omicron variant (and its little brother BA.2), which considerably upset the epidemic landscape. The variant, discovered in South Africa, is not only more contagious than the Delta variant, but it also shows some resistance to the vaccines that are used today. These two studies, however, suggest that “hybrid immunity, acquired by being exposed to both infection and vaccination, […] could give long-lasting protection, including against new variants”, explains Professor Pramod Kumar, an Indian researcher.

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At present, more than 22,000 infected people are hospitalized in France. 1,500 patients are currently in intensive care: numbers that have been steadily increasing for more than a week now.

Vaccination: what recommendations in case of infection?

If you have been infected with the virus, but are awaiting a dose of vaccine, the Haute Autorité de Santé recommends that you vaccinate “immunocompetent people”, with a single dose of vaccine, preferably 2 to 6 months after infection.

Warning ! If the infection occurs after vaccination has been started or completed, it is necessary to contact your healthcare professional.

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