Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines may provide protection lasting for years, a new study says.
The study, which monitored 41 healthy participants from the St. Louis metropolitan area who received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over several weeks, found germinal center B cells, or structures where mature cells mutate their antibody genes during a normal immune response to an infection, that "remained at or near their peak frequency 15 weeks after immunization in 8 of the 10 participants sampled at that time point." The study also noted that "antigen-specific GC B cells have been found to persist for at least one year."
"It's a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine," Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study, said of the results.
Public health officials remain uncertain about how long immunization against COVID-19 lasts after vaccination, and many have suggested booster shots may become necessary in the future.
"I don't anticipate that the durability of the vaccine protection is going to be infinite," Dr. Anthony Fauci told a Senate Appropriations hearing last month. "It's just not. So I would imagine we will need, at some time, a booster."
Previous studies suggested immunity to the coronavirus lasted six months after inoculation.
The United States is expected to fall just shy of President Joe Biden's July 4 vaccination goal of getting at least one vaccine shot into the arms of 70% of U.S. adults, prompting new "culturally competent" outreach to younger adults, the demographic largely responsible for the failure.
"With younger people, it's just that, to date, the pandemic has not hit them as personally," a White House official told the Washington Examiner. "You have grandparents that may have died, but young people are able to recover or had not been touched by the pandemic as closely" and therefore might not be receiving the breadth of information older, more vulnerable populations were ingesting.
There have been more than 33 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 601,000 deaths attributed to the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 320 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, and 45.6% of the population is fully inoculated, the CDC report shows.
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Original Author: Carly Roman