The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022 and The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2022: equality impact assessment

This equality impact assessment (EQIA) is to analyse the potential impacts for each protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 of amending the definition of fully vaccinated to include the requirement for a booster if a primary course of MHRA vaccine was over 120 days ago and amend the definition of late night venue.

Protection due to previous infection

There is limited evidence for Omicron on the duration of natural immunity due to the high levels of vaccination within the population. However, high levels of immune escape have been seen as well as a marked increase in overall reinfection rates[37] [38] [39].

Data published on 17 November, pre Omicron, showed that those who have had a COVID-19 infection previously continue to be less likely to test positive than those who had not, with estimated likelihood of testing positive similar to those who received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine more than 14 days ago and those who received two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine between 15 to 90 days ago. Those who had previous infection were 1/5th less likely to test positive for Covid compared to those who had not.[40]

Data from numerous studies pre-Omicron indicate that neutralising antibodies last from 5-7 months[41] for up to a year[42] after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Individuals with severe illness produce more antibodies[43] and vaccination of individuals who have already been infected induces higher levels of protection than following infection alone.[44] [45] Young people tend to have a stronger antibody based on immunity to SAR-CoV-2 that lasts longer. A UK based study focusing on prevalence of antibody positivity to SARS-CoV-2 after first peak of infections showed that the highest prevalence and smallest overall decline in positivity was in the youngest age group (18-24 years), and lowest prevalence and largest decline in the oldest group (>74 years).[46]

In summary it is difficult to say definitively how long natural (post-infection) immunity will last. A NERVTAG paper (New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group) presented to Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 27 May discussed that protection from re-infection with SARS-CoV-2 can last at least 7 months and in some studies up to one year.[47]



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