S. Africa expert: Previous infection doesn’t protect against Omicron, but shots do

People infected with earlier variants of COVID-19 do not appear to be protected against Omicron, but vaccination will prevent serious illness, a top South African scientist says.

“We believe that previous infection does not provide protection from Omicron,” says Anne von Gottberg, an expert at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Outlining early research into the newly emerged variant, she says doctors are seeing “an increase for Omicron reinfections.”

“We believe the number of cases will increase exponentially in all provinces of the country,” she says. “We believe that vaccines will still, however, protect against severe disease.”

A healthcare worker conducts a PCR test at the Lancet laboratory in Johannesburg on November 30, 2021 (EMMANUEL CROSET / AFP)

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