Scientists have found clues that suggest the need for frequent booster shots may not be necessary due to the long lasting protection offered by the Covid-19 vaccines. They also caution that more research is needed and the virus mutations are a wild card.
Evidence in studies is beginning to show that immunity from the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna doesn’t just depend exclusively on antibodies that decrease over time and that the body has layers of protection offering backup.
Pfizer and Moderna are working to have candidates ready for the fall with booster shots but companies will not decide when they are used, health authorities in each country will decide that.
Other experts suggest the need for booster shots may be every few years, if at all. They point to ways in which the immune system remembers Covid-19, so once antibodies fade, the body can work to fend off a future exposure.
Scientists do not yet know the level that antibodies need to fall in order to not be able to fend off the virus without additional help.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Senate subcommittee that he thinks at some point we will need a booster but right now they are figuring out when that might be.
To date 62.8% of the adult U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 40% are fully vaccinated.
Both infection and death rates have fallen; to date the U.S. has seen 595,000 deaths.
One of the body’s backups are plasma cells. Immunologist Ali Ellebedy at Washington University found that patients recovered from Covid-19 had plasma cells that migrated to the bone marrow where they continued to secret antibodies.
Memory B cells are another backup, working inside bodies to continue to churn out large numbers of new antibodies.
While vaccinations work to some extent on the Covid mutations, so many people remaining unvaccinated leaves the room for more mutations to occur.
If boosters are necessary, they will not be needed all at once because antibodies gradually fade.
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