Anyone who received a double dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines may not need a booster shot anytime soon. A new study in Nature suggests that the mRNA vaccines provide years of protection—maybe even a lifetime of it, reports the New York Times. One big caveat: The virus is ever-evolving, and a significant new variation could make boosters necessary. The peer-reviewed study did not explicitly address the new Delta strain, which is thought to be particularly contagious, notes Forbes. Nor did the sample study include anyone who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though lead researcher Dr. Ali Ellebedy of Washington University in St. Louis says the J&J immune response would likely be less robust over the long run. But on the mRNA vaccines, the news is better.
"It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine," says Ellebedy. The study buttresses earlier research suggesting that people who recovered from COVID retained protection for nearly a year, notes Fox News. The new study set out to see if the vaccines could provide similar protection, and certain cells found in recipients' lymph nodes suggest they do. As for the worrisome variants, a University of Washington immunologist in Seattle has a counter to that based on the research. "Everyone always focuses on the virus evolving—this is showing that the B cells are doing the same thing," Marion Pepper tells the Times. "And it’s going to be protective against ongoing evolution of the virus, which is really encouraging." (Read more Pfizer stories.)