More than two-thirds of the world’s population built up a significant amount of antibodies against Covid-19 at the end of last year, either by vaccination or infection, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on 1 June.
The number of people found to have antibodies against the virus rose to 67% in October last year, up from just 16% in February 2021. This is most likely due to the more mild and transmissible omicron variant, which spread rapidly around the world and caused symptomless infections.
In developing countries, this increase is explained by natural infection rather than vaccination campaigns, which are still ongoing.
Infection with other variants of Covid, as well as vaccination, offer strong protection against severe Covid-19 infection. Vaccination is not particularly effective against the Omicron variant, as immunity wanes quickly.
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Children and the elderly generally have lower levels of antibodies than people in their twenties. After infection or vaccination, the level of antibodies reduces over time. Future studies will be carried out to determine how quickly protection declines and which groups are most affected.
Infections with the Covid-19 virus have reached new lows in Belgium. As of 3 June, there are now fewer than 900 hospitalisations due to the Covid-19 virus, with new cases falling by 28-36% per week.
With Covid restrictions around the country largely dropped, and no new significant surges occurring since the winter, Belgium is now disposing of much of its strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment, vaccines, and other materials.