Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists have been trying to understand the immunity to the virus properly. How long is a patient immune after contracting with COVID-19, after getting the complete vaccination shots, or both? Still, it is premature to tell the exact answers to these questions, but experts are getting closer to crack the mystery.
Moreover, the director of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, Dr. Peter Marks, said that the current wisdom around possible COVID-19 vaccine boosters suggests they may require at some stage – but exactly when is not clear. He was addressing during a coronavirus Vaccine Education & Equity Project webinar.
Marks adds that they will have to see where this all interrelates. It is possible the United States needs a booster at some point. It is possibly not sooner, hopefully than a year after getting a vaccination, for the average adult. Experts emphasize that anyone who gets full vaccination presently should still be protected.
However, the reason why the timeline for possible boosters remains not clear is that experts still need some more time to gather the statistics on how long immunity against coronavirus may last in the future – and how to factor in future variants. In general, if a person has immunity, that means they have protection against the virus.
One can acquire immunity either through infection or vaccination. The human immune system develops antibodies either induced by the response to the infection or the vaccination – and either body immune response can maintain a memory. Experts usually measured through the presence of antibodies – proteins made through the immune system to help combat the virus in the blood.
Vaccine Manufacturers Monitoring Immunity
At present, the CDC approved three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in America: the two-dose Moderna vaccine for ages eighteen and older; the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for ages twelve and older; and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for ages eighteen and older. All these three companies are investigating the possible use of boosters.
They are also studying whether the immunity these vaccines produce may decline over a long duration – say, maybe, after one year or more – and whether they protect as well against COVID-19 variants that could emerge and evolve. If so, an inoculated person might need a booster dose of coronavirus vaccine to stay protected against the original virus strain and recently emerging variants – slightly similar to how a tetanus booster is suggested every ten years or different flu vaccines are recommended every year.