How long after a Covid boost are you immune?

EVERY UK adult can expect an NHS invitation for their booster Covid vaccine in the next two months.

In response to the new super-mutant Covid strain Omicron, ministers are throwing “everything at it” – namely, millions of booster shots.

Health Minister Sajid Javid injects booster shot on November 17


Health Minister Sajid Javid injects booster shot on November 17Credit: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that all people over the age of 18 will be able to take the supplement by the end of January 2022.

Just three months after your second dose of Covid vaccine, the NHS will invite you for a third dose.

Many will wonder how long do boosters provide protection, if they are released so quickly after the second dose?

Here, we answer your questions.

How long after a Covid boost are you immune?

It is too early to say how long the protection against Covid lasts after boosting.

After two main doses, antibodies start to decline from about three months.

In announcing its booster advice for older adults in September, the JCVI said: “There is not enough time left to know what level of protection can be expected six to 12 months after the course. main”.

Britain’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, believes the protection from the booster lasts slightly better than after just two doses.

He told the BBC on November 3, “I think, as a first rule, it’s very likely that the third dose that you get, the booster dose, is likely to last a little longer than the protection we provide.” We have from the first two doses, which are now starting to wane.

“But I can’t give you a straight answer on that because the truth of the matter is this is a new disease, we’re still learning about it, we’re still learning about these vaccines. how long it will last after the third dose.

“And we have to wait for that data before we can give you a completely clear answer.”

The study looking at the strength of immunity after a dose of the vaccine looked only at antibodies.

But there are other parts of the immune system that are believed to be stronger and last longer.

After the antibody level drops, a small percentage of B cells and T cells will stick to it as “memory cells”. They can live for months, years, and sometimes even decades.

It’s not known exactly how long they last after the Covid vaccine, as it’s only been a year since the vaccine started rolling out.

But studies – and vaccine makers – have stated that T-cell responses are strong and may be working to protect the elderly and vulnerable even if their antibodies drop. down.

How often will we need a booster?

Experts have said it is possible that a Covid booster shot will be given every year, like a flu injector, to boost protection.

It is also possible that every year, there is a new strain of virus that the vaccine needs to be directed against.

Professor Van-Tam said: “Are there some known issues with having to re-vaccinate?

“Well, no, there isn’t, and you can see that from the annual flu shot that is given year after year, decade after decade, to the elderly, to people with high-risk conditions. ”

The head of the NHS in England, Amanda Pritchard, said the health service was bracing for the prospect of an annual Covid-19 booster vaccine program – if one was needed.

Professor Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Influenza Modeling (Spi-M) team, has said that repeat vaccinations could be done “for many years to come” to keep Covid in a bay. .

How much do boosters increase protection?

Adults 50 years of age and older had 93.1% protection from symptomatic infection after two doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZ).

This number drops from 65%, up to three months after the second dose, to 45% for six months after the second dose.

Those who took Pfizer’s first course were 94% protected.

This number drops to 90% after three months to 65% after six months.

But after boosters (of which they were all Pfizers), protection increased to 93.1% in the first AZ users and 94% in those with Pfizer.

Looking at time to hospital admission, protection decreased from 95% to 75% for AZ and 99% to 90% for Pfizer between three and six months after the second dose.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, director of Covid-19 immunization for JCVI, said: “Although we do not yet have data on its ability to protect against hospitalization and unfortunate deaths from Covid-19, we can expect even more protection than that 93% because that’s what has happened so far in the vaccine program. “

Should I buy my booster?

Yes – it could be the only shot on a typical Christmas.

You may be confused as to why you need another dose of the vaccine, if scientists say the first two work so well.

There is a new Covid variant that has prompted a massive boost campaign.

Early indications are that this variant, called Omicron, could reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine designed to fight the first strain of Covid from Wuhan.

Which means to get the best protection against it, the level of immunity needs to be high.

Talking about the importance of boosters, Deborah Dunn-Walters, Professor of Immunology, University of Surrey & President of the British Association for COVID-19 Immunology and Immunology task force, said: “For Until we know the answers to these questions, increase protective measures if we can.

“Since we know that immunity declines to some extent, and boosters can increase immunity, accelerating a booster program will protect more people.”

Sajid Javid says it’s a ‘national effort’ to beat Omicron and everyone needs to roll up their sleeves and get boosters

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