Doctors are suggesting that young adults may need one COVID-19 vaccine annually, while seniors may need two.
With Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccine roll-out nationwide, the end of this pandemic seems near approaching. Medical health professionals are suggesting that a COVID vaccine may become similar to an annual flu shot.
"From my standpoint, I would not be surprised if this is an ongoing vaccination that looks very similar to our flu shot," said Christine Billings, emergency preparedness and response supervisor for Jefferson County’s COVID-19 response team. "We are going to get our influenza shot and our COVID shot on an annual basis."
Currently, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to have the full benefit. The first dose helps the immune system create a response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The second dose further boosts the immunity for long-term protection.
In January, Moderna claimed its COVID-19 vaccine immunity would last up to a year.
"I would not be surprised if Pfizer doesn't last at least as long since they both are very similar. So that's a good thing that at least we will have the ability to have yearly vaccinations instead of having to have them every six months or so. It appears that it will last at least a year and maybe longer," says Mark Johnson, the interim director of Jefferson County Public Health.
But, for seniors, the frequency of receiving the vaccine may be different. As researchers from Johns Hopkins explained, antibody response diminishes drastically over time in the 75 and older age group. Since older peoples' immunity is less robust, they may need a booster shot later in the year.
Now, the vaccine developers are looking at ways to boost the effectiveness for longer immunity than the natural infection.
As the clinical trial started in July 2020, and the vaccines were only approved in December 2020, we do not have enough information on whether annual shots are needed. To determine the duration of immunity, researchers will track vaccinated people to look for cases where someone gets infected despite vaccination. Monitoring antibody levels in vaccinated people will also be done to understand if a booster shot is needed.
While we wait for the data to come in, medical health experts are stressing the need for people to get vaccinated as it seems to be the best way to reach herd immunity in the future.
Have you received the COVID-19 vaccine? Let us know in the comments.