COVID19: Most re-infections are unvaccinated

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Infection-acquired immunity has proven to be insufficient to protect against a re-infection from COVID-19, as more than two thirds of reinfections in Cyprus involve people who had not been vaccinated, according to data provided by the health’s ministry’s epidemiological surveillance unit.

A report presented before scientists advising the government on handling the coronavirus pandemic showed that 16,064 people have been infected with COVID-19 more than once, with the vast majority being reinfected in the current year.

A total of 10,956, or 68.2% out of the 16,064 were unvaccinated, while 2,206 (13.7%) had received just one dose, 1,707 (10.6%) had received two doses of a vaccine, and 1,195 (7.4%) had booster shots.

Some 14,251 people were re-infected between 1 January and 18 March 2022, with 3,306 (15%) of all reinfections occurring in the week between 12 and 18 March, of the total of 22,160 COVID-19 cases reported during that week alone.

More re-infections were reported in the week 12 to 18 March than in the whole of 2021, with 1,797.

A source close to the ministry said the 2021 figure may be deceiving as authorities were not keeping track of re-infections.

For the majority of these people, the interval between infections was eight months, despite the fact that many were infected for the second time in a much shorter period.

Most re-infections among young

According to the official health ministry data, re-infections were recorded in all age groups, however, the largest number concerns young people. Specifically, the highest number of re-infections for 2022 was in the age 15-19 age group (1899), the 20-24s recorded 1588 reinfections, and the 25-29s a total 1821.

The 30-34 age bracket saw 1558 people reinfected, some 1438 among 35-39 year olds, while 1,112 were 40-44 years old.

The rest of the groups had less than 1,000 reinfections, with just 175 people over the age of 70.

Commenting on the report, epidemiologist and government advisor Dr. Michalis Voniatis told Phileleftheros that, “85% of re-infections occurring in the past two months, involve people who had not been vaccinated”.

Voniatis said that the surge is not only attributable to the relaxation of measures, hinting to the presence of the Omicron 2 sub-variant (BA2).

“The transmission has picked up speed, with the only encouraging data being that hospitalisations are not increasing at the same pace,” said Voniatis.