Medical experts weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine immunity

BOSTON — Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine will give immunity for a year.

Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says it’s still too early to tell, however.

“It’s a little bit premature to say exactly how long protection may last,” Dr. Kuritzkes said. “Since we’ve only got 10-12 months of experience with of the pandemic this country, and we’ve only got 6 or 8 months of experience with these vaccines.”

In more encouraging COVID-19 news, a study from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology from California showed that people recovering from the virus may have immunity for 8 months or longer.

Shane Crotty is the researcher who performed the study.

“There was a lot of concern originally that this virus might not induce much memory,” Crotty said. “Instead, the immune memory looks quite good.”

Dr. C. Michael Gibson, a cardiologist and Harvard University professor says it’s promising news.

“Well you’ve got 3 defenses against COVID. Think of it as Army, Navy and Airforce. The Army, those are your antibodies. They go into hand to hand combat. They were still around 8 months later at a very good level,” Gibson said.

B cells, or memory cells, were also active at 8 months, and so were T cells. They are the ones that kill infected cells. These are all good indicators of a long-lasting immunity, but just how long will it last?

“We don’t know yet. The hope is those memory B cells will be active years later. The longer they’re active the better and the frequent we’ll have to give people booster shots,” Gibson said.

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