Hybrid immunity of infection and immunization provides up to 12 months of protection against hospitalization or a severe, second COVID infection, according to a new study. 

The research, published Wednesday in The Lancet, reviewed 26 other studies from around the world involving patients with varying levels of immunization and illness. People who had COVID but were not fully vaccinated still had some immunity at 12 months, but infection alone gave limited protection. 

The World Health Organization-funded study shows that hybrid immunity — that conferred by having been both infected and vaccinated — can prevent more than 97% of severe reinfections in the year following the initial vaccination or infection. The results can provide guidance to public health officials in developing vaccine campaigns for boosters or continued targeting of those reluctant to receive their first shot, the authors said.  

As reported yesterday in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, federal officials have said there are approximately 1,000 nursing homes in the US with zero people vaccinated against COVID. Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows that 86% of nursing home residents have received an initial vaccine series, but booster shots continue to lag. 

“Those with hybrid immunity following their first two COVID shots were nearly 42% less likely to get reinfected with COVID a year out, and nearly 47% less likely six months out following their first booster vaccination,” reported Fortune Well. “For those who had been infected but not vaccinated, protection was just 25% at 12 months.”

What’s more, people with hybrid immunity could wait months after an infection or receiving the vaccine before needing to get a booster, according to the study, which noted that hybrid immunity provides the longest-lasting protection against reinfection.