Expert: Infection acts as a booster in vaccinated people

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In the Omicron wave, significantly more people have been infected with the virus than in previous variants.

Breakthrough infections with the Omicron variant significantly increase the immune protection of vaccinated people, according to German immunologist Carsten Watzl.

According to the secretary-general of the German Society for Immunology, the current high number of infections and the accompanying immune protection may pay off in the autumn. Provided there is no new, dangerous variant, the biologist told the “Augsburger Allgemeine.“

Vaccination protection drops rapidly after the booster.

Shortly after the booster, one has the protection of about 60 to 70 percent against an infection, i.e., against flu-like symptoms, compared to the Omicron variant. “But this protection drops to 40 to 50 percent after three to six months,” says the biologist. Consequently, significantly more people would become infected with the Omicron variant than with earlier variants, for which the Corona vaccines currently available on the market were explicitly developed.

However, so-called breakthrough infections with the Omicron variant increase the immune protection of vaccinated people considerably, according to Watzl. “An infection is like a single vaccine dose. It acts like a booster with a matched vaccine.”

Mandatory vaccination for omicron winter?

Asked if compulsory vaccination was even necessary for Germany in light of this, Watzl said, “That’s the $100,000 question.” If Omicron remained the dominant variant, one would probably get through the cold season comparatively well, even without compulsory vaccination. The pessimistic scenario: “A virus variant that makes people as sick as Delta and contagious as Omicron. Then we would have a big problem again with many unvaccinated people.

Unvaccinated people are not protected even with infection

According to Watzl, unvaccinated people are not reasonably protected against a severe disease with another virus variant, even after being infected with Omicron. “This raises the question of compulsory vaccination as a preventive measure. As an immunologist, I am always in favor of vaccination because it has been proven to be safer than infection,” says the biologist.

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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