The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published its advice to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on the duration of immunity and protection from reinfection following SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection.
This advice was informed by international evidence and expert opinion, from the COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group.
Dr Máirín Ryan, HIQA’s Deputy CEO and Director of Health Technology Assessment said: “We have advised NPHET that presumptive immunity should be extended to six months post-infection. The risk of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 is low and no evidence was found to suggest that immunity wanes over this period.”
The current guidance in Ireland is that immunity lasts for at least 12 weeks.
Dr Ryan continued: “With regards to guidance, we have recommended that the post-infection exemption for close contacts be extended to six months in line with this evidence.”
The studies HIQA examined were conducted prior to December 2020, since then new variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been found and vaccines have begun roll-out. Therefore, the applicability of the findings to the new strains and vaccinated populations is unknown.
This advice is accompanied by an evidence synthesis report.
HIQA will continue to review the question of immunity and monitor the latest international evidence and national surveillance data.
You can find these documents here.