Previous Infection and Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination in Middle- and High-School Students

Pediatrics. 2023 Dec 1;152(6):e2023062422. doi: 10.1542/peds.2023-062422.


Background and objectives: Understanding the real-world impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mitigation measures, particularly vaccination, in children and adolescents in congregate settings remains important. We evaluated protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection using school-based testing data.

Methods: Using data from Utah middle- and high-school students participating in school-wide antigen testing in January 2022 during omicron (BA.1) variant predominance, log binomial models were fit to estimate the protection of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Results: Among 17 910 students, median age was 16 years (range: 12-19), 16.7% had documented previous SARS-CoV-2 infection; 55.6% received 2 vaccine doses with 211 median days since the second dose; and 8.6% of students aged 16 to 19 years received 3 vaccine doses with 21 median days since the third dose. Protection from previous infection alone was 35.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.9%-52.8%) and 23.8% (95% CI: 2.1%-40.7%) for students aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 19 years, respectively. Protection from 2-dose hybrid immunity (previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination) with <180 days since the second dose was 58.7% (95% CI: 33.2%-74.4%) for students aged 12 to 15 and 54.7% (95% CI: 31.0%-70.3%) for students aged 16 to 19 years. Protection was highest (70.0%, 95% CI: 42.3%-84.5%) among students with 3-dose hybrid immunity, although confidence intervals overlap with 2-dose vaccination.

Conclusions: The estimated protection against infection was strongest for those with hybrid immunity from previous infection and recent vaccination with a third dose.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Students
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines