Covid booster shots important to stop infection, finds English study
Scientists have urged eligible people to have Covid booster shots after a major survey in England found evidence of “breakthrough infections” more than three months after full vaccination.
Researchers at Imperial College London analysed more than 100,000 swabs from a random sample of the population and found that Covid infection rates were three to four times higher among unvaccinated people than those who had received two shots.
But while full vaccination drove infection rates down substantially, from 1.76% in the unvaccinated to 0.35% in the three months after the second dose, infection rates rose again to 0.55% three to six months after the second shot.
The finding suggests that protection against infection, with or without symptoms, starts to wane several months after full vaccination, though other studies show that vaccine protection against hospitalisation and death is far more robust.
“The possible increase of breakthrough infections over time reinforces the need for a booster programme,” said Paul Elliott, head of the React study and professor in epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial. “It’s an incentive for people to get their booster dose when it becomes available to them,” added Prof Christl Donnelly, a statistical epidemiologist on the study. The results came as new Covid cases in the UK rose to 42,776, the highest recorded since late July.
Read more of science editor Ian Sample’s report here: Covid booster shots important to stop infection, finds English study