Risk of new infection in unvaccinated children who have been ill with delta is very low

(ORDO NEWS) — Israeli scientists tested the immunity of children and adolescents from 5 to 18 years old. All test participants were infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 about a year ago.

All of them were not vaccinated. But the protection against re-infection with the Delta variant is still at a very high level – more than 80%. How young organisms will react to Omicron is not yet clear.

According to a large study by Israeli scientists, children and adolescents who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 showed a long-lasting immune response to infection with the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The study analyzed data from 300,000 children and adolescents. It turned out that a year and a half after infection, the resulting immune response was still about 80% effective in preventing re-infection.

The authors of the study focused on the period when Israel was dominated by the Delta variant. The team found that unvaccinated children and adolescents were 89% less likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 3 to 6 months after their first infection than children who were not previously infected.

For the 12–18 age group, this protection against re-infection decreased to 82.5% between 9 months and a year post-infection and remained at about this level until 18 months post-infection.

In children aged 5-11 years, the same level of protection was preserved as it was. Their immunity has not become weaker in a year and a half.

Risk of new infection in unvaccinated children who have been ill with delta is very low 2

Is it worth it to vaccinate children in this case?

Clinical data scientist Hossein Estiri of Harvard Medical School notes that some Twitter users have already noticed the preprint of the article by Israeli scientists and present it as evidence that children who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection do not need to be vaccinated.

But Estri says it’s not clear from the study how well protection from natural infection compares with protection from vaccines because the researchers didn’t make a direct comparison. “This study does not say that these children do not need to be vaccinated,” Nature magazine quotes him as saying in a commentary .

And because severe COVID-19 is rare in children, the study was unable to collect enough data to draw firm conclusions about protection from severe COVID-19.

Pediatrician Nigel Crawford of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne notes that people who have been vaccinated and have had a SARS-CoV-2 infection often experience an overcharged immune response compared to those who received only the vaccine or infection.

“I don’t want to rely solely on infection to develop immunity,” he says. And he adds: “We have no idea what the next wave will bring.”

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