Moderna vaccine lasts at least 6 months, according to new study

U.S. & World

BOSTON (AP) — New research suggests the protection the Moderna vaccine gives against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months.

The report Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine echoes what Pfizer said last week about its vaccine, which works in a similar way.

Both reports were based on follow-up tests in dozens of people who received the shots during studies that led to the vaccines’ use. However those studies were done before troubling new variants, or versions of the coronavirus, had emerged and started to spread.

A separate report in the medical journal adds to concern about the variants. Scientists measured antibodies that can block the virus in 50 people who had been given the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines that were developed in China. Many showed total or partial loss of effectiveness against a virus variant first detected in South Africa.

The vaccines still seemed to protect against a variant first found in the United Kingdom that is now rapidly spreading in the United States and elsewhere.

Pfizer and Moderna have said they are working to update their vaccines, or possibly design a booster shot, in case they’re needed against variants.

Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said experts do not know conclusively if booster shots will be needed in the future. He said it will depend on how long immunity will last, as well as how well we do at reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and the risks in the community.

“If people are choosing not to get vaccinated, if people are choosing not to maintain their precautions while we see this through to the end, we may be left with a significant number of COVID cases still circulating in the community and so long as that threat is there, that’s going to drive up the likelihood that we need to get additional vaccination,” said Gonsenhauser.

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