Presumptive immunity to Covid-19 extended to nine months – NPHET

Ongoing assessment of risk in June to track international data on transmission patterns

Extension of the period of presumptive immunity to Covid-19 from six to nine months post-infection has been endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

In a letter to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chair of NPHET endorsed latest advice from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) on duration of immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection, adding the impact of new variants on natural immunity was to be kept under review.

However, notwithstanding the current positive position, there he underlined key uncertainties and risks, including case numbers and incidence remaining relatively high.

While the situation appeared promising, there were still uncertainties in relation to the uptake, effectiveness, and impact on transmissibility and disease severity of available vaccines.

The transmissibility and overall impact of variants remained uncertain, particularly in relation to the B.1.617.2 variant, now known as ‘Delta’.

The planned easing of public health restrictions this month remained low- to medium-risk. He added ongoing assessment of the risk would be possible over the course of June as further data emerged on the effect of the de-escalations on May 10 and next Monday, June 7, and further international data emerged on vaccine effectiveness and transmission patterns.

Individual and community level compliance and buy-in to public health measures and responsiveness to changes in the profile of the disease had remained high but could not be taken for granted.

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