(HealthDay) — As the number of people fully immunized to COVID-19 grows to hundreds of millions, immunologists and infectious disease experts are now pondering new pandemic issues.
In other words, how long vaccine Immunity lasts. Do people who get jabs need booster shots to maintain their defenses?
This is because weakened immunity in the face of the more powerful COVID-19 variant could lead to a surge in infection in the future and, in the worst case, full-scale resumption of quarantine and lockdown. This is an important issue.
A person’s immunity is always weakened to some extent after vaccination or spontaneous infection, said Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota.
But will the immunity to COVID weaken rapidly like the flu and cold, or will it last as long as a disease like measles or whooping cough?
“Antibody levels decline over time, which applies to all the vaccines we offer,” Poland said. “We have never been immunized against the coronavirus, so the question is really flexible.”
People’s immunity to the seasonal coronavirus that causes the common cold declines rapidly. Therefore, you may catch a cold many times.
However, the vaccine developed against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the new coronavirus, appears to produce high levels of antibodies that protect against weakness.
A recent study of 3,900 people found that Health care workers According to Poland, COVID tests are done weekly, with about 5% positive between December and April. However, of the 204 sick, only 16 were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Poland said the infection rate of fully vaccinated people was “talking about 0.3%”. If they were vaccinated and had a breakthrough infection, the viral load would be 40. It’s 50% lower than%, and the chances of getting fever are almost 60% lower. Two days less in bed than unvaccinated people. “
And that’s the main factor in deciding whether boosters will be needed in the future. Is the vaccine successful in its most important job?
“The goal of this vaccine is to keep you out of hospitals, ICUs and morgues,” said Philadelphia Children’s Hospital Vaccine Education Center Director and US Food and Drug Administration Advisor. Said Dr. Paul Offit. And the pharmacy office.
Experts such as Poland and Ofitt believe that boosters are unlikely to be needed immediately for most, or perhaps everyone, vaccinated people.
In the face of newer and more infectious variants, such as the Delta variant that emerged in India, existing vaccines were able to prevent serious illness in fully vaccinated people, Poland said. Stated.
Ofit made a similar point.
“I think it’s much easier to prevent serious illnesses and it’s much more likely that you’ll have long-term protection against severe illnesses.” “If that’s the goal, the vaccine will last for years. I think”
If this type of lasting protection is proven, the COVID may still sniff, but it will not arrive in the emergency room.
“Whether vaccinated or not wearing a mask, the virus invades the nose and throat. The virus still begins to self-proliferate. Still, it can cause some symptoms before infection. There is. Immune system It will be activated, “Ofit said.
Experts tracking COVID hospitalizations have two factors in mind when assessing the need for boosters: the health of each person’s immune system and the development of new coronavirus variants. I will.
People with weakened immunity, such as smokers with weakened immunity, diabetics, obese people, and the elderly, will come earlier if statistics show that hospitalization rates are rising. Poland said boost immunity may be needed
On the other hand, young people with a healthy immune system may have years of protection.
Experts say it’s too early to judge.
“If there are quite a few people who are completely vaccinated and have a serious illness that forces them to be hospitalized, that is certainly a signal that they need a booster,” Dr. . Dial Hewlett says.Director of Disease Control, Westchester County Health Department, White Plains, New York
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading federal infectious disease expert, says protection is not endless.
“I think we’ll need a booster someday,” he recently told the US Senate Subcommittee. “What we currently know is what the intervals will be.”
The main concern at this time is “not protected because it is so different from the wild-type virus, but close enough that the body has already seen it and is able to infect it unchecked.” The emergence of variants. Poland said.
As a result, public health professionals require as many people as possible to be vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has just passed the midpoint and more than 50% of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated with COVID-19.
President Joe Biden’s goal is to have at least one vaccination of 70% of the population by July 4. However, the rate of new vaccinations has slowed recently and is now less than 600,000 per day.
“The stage we are in is a very desperate competition between vaccines and mutants,” Poland said. “If everyone gets immunity very quickly and doesn’t allow the Delta variant to get the fortress, I think we can go home.”
Poland pointed out a reassuring model.
“There are models that show that achieving a vaccination rate of 50% of the total population can prevent about 6 million additional COVID cases,” he said. “If the virus cannot be infected, it cannot replicate.” So this is very important. If it can’t be duplicated, it won’t mutate. “
As some pharmaceutical companies are investigating, the booster injection problem may be meaningless if the COVID vaccine eventually becomes included in your annual flu shot 2: 1. , Poland said.
“Well, we have to get the flu vaccine every year. What if we wrap the two together? That is, the coronavirus component may not be needed, but we get the flu vaccine. As long as you’re there, you’ll boost your immunity anyway, “he said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccine..
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Do People Really Need a COVID Booster Vaccine Every Year?
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