How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?
Experts don’t know yet because they’re still studying vaccinated people to see when protection might wear off. How well the vaccines work against emerging variants will also determine if, when and how often additional shots might be needed.
“We only have information for as long as the vaccines have been studied,” said Deborah Fuller, a vaccine researcher at the University of Washington. “We have to study the vaccinated population and start to see, at what point do people become vulnerable again to the virus?”
So far, Pfizer’s ongoing trial indicates the company’s two-dose vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months, and likely longer. People who got Moderna’s vaccine also still had notable levels of virus-fighting antibodies six months after the second required shot.
While the current COVID-19 vaccines will likely last for at least about a year, they probably won’t offer lifelong protection, as with measles shots, said Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, a vaccine expert at the University of Maryland.
“It’s going to be somewhere in the middle of that very wide range,” she said.
Variants are another reason we might need an additional shot.
On the one hand, you have the awfully convenient situation these pharmaceutical companies find themselves in, where they can just keep claiming that new vaccines need to be developed whenever they want to get paid.
It’s like a cheat code for instant gold.
But on the other hand, the more interesting thing is that the experts cited openly state that they don’t know how long the protection will work because not enough time has passed.
This opens up the door for an even more interesting question: how do they know that vaccines are safe if not enough time has passed?
They can’t know what will happen to the health of people who took the vaccine one, two, or more years down the line, simply because not enough time has passed since the first person got vaccinated.
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