New research shows Pfizer’s effectiveness wanes after two months
ROANOKE, Virginia – Two new international studies show that the immune protection of two doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine wanes after about two months.
A study found that antibody levels decline rapidly, especially in men, people 65 years of age and older, and people with reduced immunity. The study also found that immunity lasts longer for people who get vaccinated after a natural infection with COVID-19.
In the other study, the researchers found that the decline accelerates after the fourth month, reaching only 20% protection in the following months. But the protection against hospitalization and death remains strong, over 90%.
“These reports did not alarm me and they were not completely unexpected,” said Dr Paul Skolnik, director of medicine at the Carilion Clinic.
Skolnik added that our body’s immune system includes more than just antibodies.
âThe other type of immunity, cell-mediated immunity, is also very important and very effective,â Skolnik said. âIt’s much more difficult to measure in the lab. And so many studies won’t measure that.
Skolnik said these studies further prove why booster shots are important for eligible people: anyone 65 years of age and older, 18 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions, or people who work or live in high risk environments.
âI wouldn’t start to worry after two months. This six-month timeframe was chosen because that’s when we start to see an increase in hospitalizations and an increase in serious illnesses, âSkolnik said.
For those who were not yet eligible for a recall, he recommended that they take precautions.
âThe greatest risk is in areas with low vaccination rates. Southwest Virginia is one of those places, âSkolnik said. “If you are indoors, if you are in crowded situations, or if you are in places that have a lot of people, you have to wear a mask and you have to get away as best you can.”
To get more shots, the Virginia Department of Health is opening a new community vaccination center in the old Sears at the Valley View Mall in Roanoke. People can get their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd doses, as well as booster shots.
âOur immune response decreases over time,â said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City & Alleghany Health District. “Our bodies sometimes need that little push.”
The center will be open six days a week until December and can accommodate up to 500 people per day. It will be located in the mall during the holiday shopping season in order to be easily accessible.
âWe can really take this unused space and use it for good for everyone in our community,â Morrow said. âNot just for Roanoke-Alleghany, but for the whole region. We welcome everyone.
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