Last week, live-blogging the ACIP meeting, I learned to my dismay that CDC wanted its advisory committee to sign off on frequent Covid vaccine booster doses–in the absence of supportive data! Perhaps the CDC was anxious to avoid data because the data suggest that boosters are unnecessary? Here are excerpts from a June 28 NYT article describing a study just publiched in Nature:
The vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna set off a persistent immune reaction in the body that may protect against the coronavirus for years, scientists reported on Monday.
The findings add to growing evidence that most people immunized with the mRNA vaccines may not need boosters, so long as the virus and its variants do not evolve much beyond their current forms — which is not guaranteed. People who recovered from Covid-19 before being vaccinated may not need boosters even if the virus does make a significant transformation…
The results suggest that a vast majority of vaccinated people will be protected over the long term — at least, against the existing coronavirus variants. But older adults, people with weak immune systems and those who take drugs that suppress immunity may need boosters; people who survived Covid-19 and were later immunized may never need them at all.
Exactly how long the protection from mRNA vaccines will last is hard to predict. In the absence of variants that sidestep immunity, in theory immunity could last a lifetime, experts said. But the virus is clearly evolving.
“Anything that would actually require a booster would be variant-based, not based on waning of immunity,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “I just don’t see that happening.”