Moderna vaccine: Booster shots not needed, declares new research – here’s why
Booster shot doses are being debated globally to determine whether a stronger immunity and a potential stop to the COVID-19 spread is feasible. Concerns circulate regarding even a small reduction in efficacy against the spread of Covid and how this could strain the health care system particularly with Winter approaching.
Lasting immunity against COVID-19 in vaccinated people was a question explored in a new study.
Researchers from La Jolla Institute of Immunology (LJI) sought to answer this question with regards to the Moderna vaccine.
Published in Science, the study found that a low dose of the Moderna vaccine lasts for at least six months with no indication that a booster jab will be needed thereafter.
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It was found that the Moderna vaccine led to strong helper T cells and antibody responses for at least six months after clinical trial participants were fully vaccinated.
Researchers also noted it was unlikely that the immune response could last much longer.
These indications stemmed to all age groups tested, including those aged over 70 who are deemed particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infections.
Researchers compared recovered COVID-19 patients to vaccine trial participants who received a 25 microgram (mg) dose of the Moderna vaccine during the phase one clinical trials (supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health).
The study found that a low dose of the Moderna vaccine lasts for at least six months with no indicator that vaccinated people will need a booster shot.
“This time point is critical because that is when true immune memory has formed,” said LJI Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf, Ph.D., who co-led the study with LJI Professors Alessandro Sette and Shane Crotty.
“The immune memory was stable, and that was impressive,” added Dr Crotty.
“That’s a good indicator of the durability of mRNA vaccines.”
Vaccine makers and several studies have suggested that vaccine-induced immunity to COVID wanes after six months.
It was also found that vaccines are less effective at preventing mild or moderate disease from the coronavirus’s notorious Delta variant than they were against earlier strains.
Two doses of the Moderna vaccines still appear to provide excellent protection against severe disease and death, noted the LJI study.
A U.K. government advisory panel is set to soon recommend whether to move forward with broad use of a third vaccine dose.
The UK is already offering boosters to those with severely weakened immune systems, as are many European Union countries.
The European Medicines Agency is also reviewing booster data from Pfizer and BioNTech, and from Moderna Inc.
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