Boris Johnson yesterday called for all children to be vaccinated in order to keep schools open. He told a Downing Street press conference: “We know how crucial it is to keep children in school, so let’s all make sure our children and young people are vaccinated before they go back next term.”
But why is this a good idea when most schoolchildren have had the virus already and have natural immunity? According to the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge, nearly half of children in England under 15 caught the virus between the beginning of September and mid-October, bringing the total infected at that point to 76%, with more having caught it since. These estimates, while modelled, are also broadly in line with ONS Infection Survey estimates, which show a large outbreak in schoolchildren this autumn.
Noah Carl has highlighted three recent large studies which show that immunity via infection is much stronger and more durable than immunity via vaccination. In the chart below from a Danish study, the green line is protection over time from vaccine only, the orange line is from infection only and the yellow line is from infection plus vaccine.