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.

BACKGROUND: Both infection and vaccination, alone or in combination, generate antibody and T cell responses against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, the maintenance of such responses-and hence protection from disease-requires careful characterization. In a large prospective study of UK healthcare workers (HCWs) (Protective Immunity from T Cells in Healthcare Workers [PITCH], within the larger SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation [SIREN] study), we previously observed that prior infection strongly affected subsequent cellular and humoral immunity induced after long and short dosing intervals of BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccination. METHODS: Here, we report longer follow-up of 684 HCWs in this cohort over 6-9 months following two doses of BNT162b2 or AZD1222 (Oxford/AstraZeneca) vaccination and up to 6 months following a subsequent mRNA booster vaccination. FINDINGS: We make three observations: first, the dynamics of humoral and cellular responses differ; binding and neutralizing antibodies declined, whereas T and memory B cell responses were maintained after the second vaccine dose. Second, vaccine boosting restored immunoglobulin (Ig) G levels; broadened neutralizing activity against variants of concern, including Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and BA.5; and boosted T cell responses above the 6-month level after dose 2. Third, prior infection maintained its impact driving larger and broader T cell responses compared with never-infected people, a feature maintained until 6 months after the third dose. CONCLUSIONS: Broadly cross-reactive T cell responses are well maintained over time-especially in those with combined vaccine and infection-induced immunity ("hybrid" immunity)-and may contribute to continued protection against severe disease. FUNDING: Department for Health and Social Care, Medical Research Council.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





191 - 215.e9


COVID vaccine, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, T cells, Translation to population health, antibody, immunity, Humans, COVID-19 Vaccines, BNT162 Vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, Prospective Studies, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccines, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Health Personnel, Immunity, Humoral