Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are likely to offer long-lasting protection against Covid-19, according to a study published on Monday, indicating that people who are already inoculated with either of the mRNA vaccines may not need a booster dose for years.
The study reinforces a previous finding, first reported in May, that people who have both recovered from infection and have been fully inoculated with one of the mRNA vaccines have an even stronger immune response.
The study also showed that the vaccines produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies that were effective against three variants of the coronavirus, including the Beta variant that has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Nearly four months after the first dose of either vaccine, the body still had the so-called germinal centers in the lymph nodes which effectively train the body’s immune cells to protect against future infection.
According to scientists who conducted the study, this is a very positive sign since germinal centers normally peak one or two weeks after vaccination and then begin to decline, the New York Times reported.
Production of a broader range of immune cells and longer training times for those cells will lead to more robust protection against the virus and any variants that may emerge.
The scope of the study was only limited to the two approved mRNA vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. It did not examine the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and one of the study’s authors told the New York Times that he expected the immune response from that shot to be less durable.