Public health and medical experts weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine immunity

Local News

As more people are getting vaccinated across the commonwealth, some are wondering how long this immunity will last. Some medical experts say another dose maybe necessary within 12 months of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Right now, experts are researching natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. Some professionals say additional doses of the vaccine may be necessary.

Six month into vaccine distribution, experts are working to learn more about how long the vaccine is effective.

“We’re going to have to wait for more information and more data, but I think there’s an assumption that if it doesn’t provide lifelong, that likely within a year or nine to 12 months, a second dose or a booster would be needed.” said Emily Shears, Epidemiologist at UPMC Hamot.

Char Barringer, Director of Community Health Services at the Erie County Department of Health, says other viral vaccines require boosters or multiple shots.

“Vaccine for measles, mumps, needs a booster. The vaccine for chicken pox, also a viral illness, needs a booster. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if COVID needs a booster.” Barringer said.

Barringer says researchers are currently learning so much about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccine.

“We know with the flu, it’s every year because there are different variants. We know there are different variants with COVID-19. As a public health person, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes an annual vaccine. We just don’t know yet.” Barringer said.

Medical experts say an additional shot may be necessary before we enter when people tend to spend more time indoors.

“As immunity wanes, we would be concerned as we go back indoors where we know it seemed to be more effective at spreading. The good news is that our mitigation efforts like masking and distancing, we have shown to be very effective.” Shears said.

Shears says we saw how effective masking is as there were little to no flu cases this past flu season.

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