In the short amount of time the COVID vaccines have been available, we’ve learned a lot about them. Knowing that all three vaccines are highly efficacious has brought a sense of relief to the nation. Plus, each has an outstanding track record of protecting against hospitalization and death.
The only question we’ve been waiting to get answered is: how long does the vaccine last? Now, months into data collection, we finally know that crucial piece of information.
According to Anthony Fauci, the nations leading infectious disease expert, the current vaccines will protect you for at least six months. Continue reading for more on Fauci’s assessment.
Protection Will Likely Last Longer
Six months doesn’t sound like very much time, but don’t worry. Fauci says there’s a high chance the vaccines will last longer than that.
He explained in an interview with Wired on March 3 that researchers came up with six months because they have collected six months’ worth of data that confirms the vaccine’s protection lasting for that long.
The CDC and the vaccine makers will continuously monitor antibody levels at regular intervals until they find signs that the protection levels decline.
“What you do is you follow people for a period of time, you measure the level of antibodies, and you observe if there’s breakthrough infections,” Fauci explained.
“If it looks like after a year and a half, the antibody levels go down and people start to get breakthrough infections, then we know that after a year and a half, we probably have to give them a boost.”
We currently know that after six months, “and maybe much longer,” antibody levels should still be vital following the second doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines.
Not knowing exactly how long you’ll be protected by the vaccine may cause frustration. But the longer you have to wait for an answer, the longer the protection will last!
Continue Following Safety Guidelines
In his interview with Wired, Fauci explains that although numbers are declining, we should not declare victory yet.
“You don’t want the decline that we’re seeing to plateau at an unreasonably high level,” Fauci said.
New variants that arise can only be tampered down by the continued practice of aggressive social safety measures. Following safety guidelines have proven effective thus far, so don’t stop now.
Fauci says vaccinating as many people as possible and sticking to public health measures is the easiest way to prevent the spread.
“There is a tenet in biology that viruses do not mutate unless you give them the opportunity to replicate,” he said.
Vaccines are the Key To Success
This is the first pandemic individuals under the age of 100 have lived through. However, we must remember the coronavirus is not the first public health crisis the world has experienced. Vaccines have always been the key to ending previous outbreaks.
“Throughout our history, we’ve been confronted with diseases that have threatened our health, life, and even our survival. Smallpox, measles, polio—every one of them has been conquered by vaccines,” Fauci said.
“We are fortunate that already we have three highly efficacious vaccines that have a very good safety profile. Soon, we will have even more,” he added.
Getting as many people vaccinated as possible in an organized, quick and efficient manner is currently the task at hand.
We Must Stick To the Two-Dose Schedule
Fauci strongly believes that sticking to the original two-dose vaccine schedule is the best way to go. He does not think it would be beneficial to administer second doses at a later time after the initial one. The two-dose schedule is recommended to be 21 or 28 days apart.
“We don’t know what the durability of a single dose is,” warned Fauci, “and it is conceivable if all you do is give the first dose to people and significantly delay the administration of the second dose, you could have a diminution of efficacy.”
According to Fauci, antibody levels increase after the second vaccine dose “by at least tenfold,” which explains the drastic decline in vaccinated individuals’ hospitalization and deaths.
Depoliticize Public Health
Fauci says he has “learned about the American people” throughout the duration of the pandemic. It has been over a year now since COVID-19 took over. Along with the rest of the world, Fauci has seen some unflattering behavior in American society.
“I think we are living currently in a very, very divisive society. Almost split right down the middle… It’s divisiveness to the extreme, where even public health measures take on a political overtone, where wearing a mask or not wearing a mask is a reflection of what your political leanings are. That should not be,” he said.
“Public health should be independent of political differences. But we didn’t see that with the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re all in this together, and we’ve all got to be pulling together. But apparently, that doesn’t always happen,” Fauci said.