Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AbstractFollowing primary SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, whether boosters or breakthrough infections provide greater protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection is incompletely understood. Here we investigated SARS-CoV-2 antibody correlates of protection against new Omicron BA.4/5 (re-)infections and anti-spike IgG antibody trajectories after a third/booster vaccination or breakthrough infection following second vaccination in 154,149 adults ≥18 y from the United Kingdom general population. Higher antibody levels were associated with increased protection against Omicron BA.4/5 infection and breakthrough infections were associated with higher levels of protection at any given antibody level than boosters. Breakthrough infections generated similar antibody levels to boosters, and the subsequent antibody declines were slightly slower than after boosters. Together our findings show breakthrough infection provides longer-lasting protection against further infections than booster vaccinations. Our findings, considered alongside the risks of severe infection and long-term consequences of infection, have important implications for vaccine policy.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Communications


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date