What’s the likelihood of getting reinfected by COVID-19? Who’s most vulnerable?

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Credit: Vlada_maestro/iStock
Credit: Vlada_maestro/iStock

Coronavirus reinfections are relatively rare, but it’s more common for people 65 and older to get infected more than once, according to a study published [March 17] in the Lancet medical journal.

A team of scientists, including some from Denmark’s Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, noted that most people who have had Covid-19 seemed to have protection from reinfection that remained stable for more than six months. In the follow up after six months, the study didn’t find any evidence that protection was waning. But a check of the demographics of who was getting infected again showed it was mostly people 65 and older.

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In a commentary that ran with the study, immunologists Dr. Rosemary Boyton and Daniel Altmann of Imperial College London called the difference in reinfection rate “relatively alarming.”

“Only 80% protection from reinfection in general, decreasing to 47% in people aged 65 years and older, are more concerning figures than offered by previous studies,” they wrote.”These data are all confirmation, if it were needed, that for SARS-CoV-2 the hope of protective immunity through natural infections might not be within our reach and a global vaccination program with high-efficacy vaccines is the enduring solution.”

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