When will we see COVID-19 booster shots?

CHI Health tells Channel 8 the current vaccines provide a year of protection from the coronavirus.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – In the state of Nebraska, 53.2% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says those individuals will be needing a booster shot pretty soon.

“When you get a booster, you increase dramatically the level of antibodies that would be protective,” Fauci said. “It’s highly likely that within a reasonable period of time we’re going to wind up requiring a booster.”

In an April interview with Channel 8, Dr. Mark Rupp of University of Nebraska Medicine explained why booster shots may be necessary.

“One of the worries with COVID-19 is that we’ll see variants emerge that could potentially evade the host defense that is induced by the vaccine,” Rupp said.

In an email message, CHI Health tells Channel 8 the current vaccines provide a year of protection from the coronavirus.

“When the level of protection starts to dwindle down –as happens over time – or when we start seeing more breakthrough infections, you’re going to see boosters,” Fauci said.

While some vaccines, like the measles or polio vaccines, provide long-lasting protection, Rupp says others, like the flu vaccine, and possibly the COVID vaccines, need boosters as the virus changes over time.

“The virus has mutational events that occur every season that change some of its surface characteristics so that your body doesn’t fully recognize the new virus compared to the one that was circulating a year or two ago,” Fauci said.

Rupp says mRNA vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine, are highly scalable, meaning that they can be adjusted and mass produced quickly. He suggests that competition between vaccine companies may result in fewer booster shots being needed down the road.

“I’m hopeful that the vaccines will yield longer lasting immunity, that we won’t be talking about booster doses after just a year,” Rupp said. “I’m hopeful that it’ll get longer lasting immunity than that.”


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