HOUSTON – Eight months after the second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is when experts believe antibodies begin to diminish and a booster vaccine is needed.
You get boosters for other vaccines including flu, pneumonia, and Tdap.
The difference with the COVID mRNA vaccines is that it teaches the body to fight the spike protein. While antibodies decreasing within a year after vaccination isn’t great, it’s not the only thing working to protect you from an infection.
UTMB professor in molecular biology, Pei-Yong Shi, said the immune system ramps up a defense after your second dose of the vaccine and will likely last a long time, especially compared to someone who never gets a vaccine.
“Compared with not vaccinated for sure, you’re much better off even without the booster,” he said.
However, since the vaccine taught your body to recognize the spike protein, your body should be able to generate antibodies when they’re needed, but the length of time your body is trained to do that is still under investigation.
“Time will tell and I’m sure all the public health officers and the vaccine manufacturers are closely monitoring the situation. It’s just nine months into the game,” Shi said.
Shi said it’s worth getting the booster as soon as it’s available to you.
“You can always say, ‘We can wait.’ And you can always argue the antibody is not the only protective immunity — even though it’s below detectable levels in the initial clinical trial and it already shows protection– but in the face of a public crisis, do you want to wait that long? I think it’s a judgment call here and in public health, it’s all about prevention, you don’t want to be too late,” Shi said.
Waiting to see what happens only allows more time for new strains of the virus to develop into something the vaccines can’t fight.
UTMB research shows all of the current vaccines protect against all strains of the virus.
Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.