PEOPLE are five times more likely to get Covid for a second time with Omicron – but boosters still protect against hospital admission.
Imperial College London modelling, led by “Prof Lockdown” Neil Ferguson, has shed new light on how immunity holds up against the mega-strain.
It said protection given by past infection is around 5.4 times less effective than it was against Delta, stopping only 19 per cent of cases.
The same figures are likely to apply to people who have had two doses of a vaccine and not a booster.
It highlighted how critical the third jabs are, with protection from hospitalisation falling to 80 per cent even after three doses.
Professor Ferguson said: “This study provides further evidence of the very substantial extent to which Omicron can evade prior immunity given by both infection or vaccination.
“This level of immune evasion means that Omicron poses a major, imminent threat to public health.”
Dr Alexandra Hogan added: “The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is highly concerning.
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“Substantial increases in infections and cases are predicted in the coming weeks.
“Our study provides further evidence for the importance of delivering booster doses as an immediate priority, particularly in older, high-risk, and priority populations.”
The reinfection study compared infection rates between 11,329 people in the UK with Omicron and 196,000 with Delta.
The team poured cold water on hopes that Omicron will be milder than Delta, saying they found no evidence that that was the case.
But they admitted there is not enough data from hospital admissions to be sure yet.
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