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COVID Reinfection Among Frontline Workers

Rockville, Md.  –  A new study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms what health experts have long argued: mask use, vaccinations, and boosters reduce the risk of COVID-19 reinfection.

The study, which Abt Global co-authored, looked at previously infected essential and frontline workers who have participated in studies of SARS-CoV-2 since July 2020. Beyond the benefits of frequent mask use and vaccination, the study found that those with a third dose of mRNA vaccine had the lowest risk of reinfection with Omicron. The Omicron variant had a greater potential for reinfection than previous variants. Two or three doses of an mRNA vaccine reduced the risk of reinfection by more than 50%.

The biggest risk factors for reinfection included infrequent mask use and a first infection more than a year earlier. Demographically, the non-Hispanic Black population was most at risk. “As ever greater numbers of the population have been infected, understanding the risk factors for reinfection has become much more critical,” says Brian Sokol, vice president, Digital Delivery.

The study adds that “Protecting workers from SARS-CoV-2 reinfection requires a multipronged public health approach including up-to-date vaccination, mask use as recommended, and reduction in underlying health disparities.”

The results came from data gathered from 4,707 frontline workers in eight locations enrolled in two studies: the Arizona Healthcare, Emergency Response, and Other Essential workers Study and the Research on the Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Essential Response Personnel study. Participants self-collected weekly nasal specimens regardless of symptoms and when they felt the onset of COVID-19–like illness symptoms.

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About Abt Global
Abt Global is a global consulting and research firm that combines data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. We partner with clients and communities to advance equity and innovation—from creating scalable digital solutions and combatting infectious disease, to mitigating climate change and evaluating programs for measurable social impact.

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