UK Study Reveals First Wave Covid Infections Provide No Immunity Against Omicron

Covid Tracker: June 15

Article heading image for UK Study Reveals First Wave Covid Infections Provide No Immunity Against Omicron


A recent UK study of triple vaccinated people from the ‘first wave’ of Covid revealed the antibody responses had plateaued, regardless of infection history.

While three doses of a Covid vaccine help to protect people against severe illness from the virus, the report suggests that previous infections don’t affect an individual’s immune response, if they subsequently catch Omicron.

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“If you were infected during the first wave, then you can’t boost your immune response if you have an Omicron infection,” said co-author of the study Prof Rosemary Boyton, of Imperial College London.

Contrary to early opinions, the report also discovered that an Omicron infection provides little extra protection against catching the variant again.

“When Omicron started flying around the country, people kept saying that’s OK, that will improve people’s immunity,” said Boyton. “What we’re saying is it’s not a good booster of immunity.”

Following the vaccination and infection experiences of 731 triple vaccinated healthcare workers in the UK from March 2020 to January 2022, the study, published in the journal Science said the finding was a surprise as it was typically assumed that a prior infection, even of a different variant, would act to boost an individual’s immune response.

Prof Danny Altmann, another author of the study, said the situation is quite complex.

“We’re not getting herd immunity, we’re not building up protective immunity to Omicron,” he said. “So we face not coming out the other end of infections and re-infections and breakthrough infections.”

Meanwhile, Covid cases and hospitalisations across Australia and New Zealand look like this:

Western Australia 

  • New cases: 6,262
  • Covid-related deaths: 3
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 258 / 9

Northern Territory 

  • New cases: 245
  • Covid-related deaths: 0
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 21 / 2

Australian Capital Territory 

  • New cases: 983   
  • Covid-related deaths: 0
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 97 / 2


  • New cases: 4,184
  • Covid-related deaths: 13
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 391 / 5

New South Wales 

  • New cases: 7,260
  • Covid-related deaths: 14
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 1,355 / 42


  • New cases: 8,687
  • Covid-related deaths: 18
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 476 / 35

South Australia 

  • New cases: 2,664
  • Covid-related deaths: 9
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 246 / 8


  • New cases: 858
  • Covid-related deaths: 0
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 43 / 2

New Zealand 

  • New cases: 5,554
  • Covid-related deaths: 11
  • Hospital and ICU admissions: 368 / 7

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Hit News Team

15 June 2022

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