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Do we Know how Long Immunity From COVID-19 Vaccination Will Last?

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The short answer is that we are not entirely sure. The vaccine simply has not been in distribution long enough to have data that speaks to duration of immunity.

Dr. Susan Bailey of the AMA in an interview with Healthline said that, “the people [in the Pfizer  study] have had the vaccine the longest, and it tells us it lasts at least 6 months.”  “But it’s definitely longer than that — it’s not just going to drop off after 6 months. I would have been concerned if efficacy had dropped by a third or half.”

The fact that COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness remained almost unchanged over the span of the study period is an indication that protection will be enduring.  Bailey noted that some vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella, generally confer lifetime immunity. Others, such as the flu vaccine, require a new shot every year.

“We don’t know which camp the COVID-19 vaccine will fall into,” she said. “If we do need a booster shot for COVID-19, we do know that it will be easy to produce” thanks to the new mRNA technology, she added.  Bailey said that the vaccines now in use appear to be effective against the COVID-19 variants circulating in the United States. But as the coronavirus continues to mutate, variants could emerge that are more resistant.  “My prediction is that a situation in which we would need to have a booster shot in the future is not because the first dose of vaccine faded but because there is a new variant that might emerge,” she said. You can read more about this here.

Prerana Sangani, MD, April 23, 2021