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Risk of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection Following Prior Infection or Vaccination.

BACKGROUND: The extent to which infection versus vaccination has conferred similarly durable severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunity during the Omicron era remains unclear.

METHODS: In a cohort of 4496 adults under continued serological surveillance throughout the first year of Omicron-predominant SARS-CoV-2 transmission, we examined incidence of new infection among individuals whose last known antigenic exposure was either recent (<90 days) or remote (≥90 days) infection or vaccination.

RESULTS: We adjudicated 2053 new-onset infections occurring between 15 December 2021 through 22 December 2022. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, compared to individuals whose last known exposure was remote vaccination, those with recent vaccination (odds ratio [OR], 0.82 [95% confidence interval {CI}, .73-.93]; P = .002) or recent infection (OR, 0.14 [95% CI, .05-.45]; P = .001) had lower risk for new infection within the subsequent 90-day period. Given a significant age interaction (P = .004), we found that remote infection compared to remote vaccination was associated with significantly greater new infection risk in persons aged ≥60 years (OR, 1.88 [95% CI, 1.13-3.14]; P = .015) with no difference seen in those <60 years (1.03 [95% CI, .69-1.53]; P = .88).

CONCLUSIONS: During the initial year of Omicron, prior infection and vaccination both offered protection against new infection. However, remote prior infection was less protective than remote vaccination for individuals aged ≥60 years. In older adults, immunity gained from vaccination appeared more durable than immunity gained from infection.

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