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VERIFY: How long will the COVID-19 vaccine last once administered?

While knowledge about vaccine induced immunity is still not thorough, scientists and researchers are hard at work to fill in the gaps about the vaccine’s duration.

PORTLAND, Ore — Ready and available vaccines for COVID-19 are on the horizon. The biopharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna both recently announced that their coronavirus vaccines have around 95% efficacy. Both companies are now rushing to obtain regulatory clearances from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), both having applied for emergency use authorization.

As these vaccines are being produced in record time, and much is still unknown about their long-term effects, much remains unanswered. KGW viewer Beverly Robinson reached out to our Verify team asking, “Once vaccinated, how long does it [the vaccine] last?”

So KGW set out to VERIFY: How long does the Covid-19 vaccine last once administered?

Natural immunity to COVID-19, meaning the protection an individual gains from already having been infected, varies from person to person and evidence shows that it may not last very long. Concerning vaccination, the CDC website clearly states in its COVID-19 information page that:

“Regarding vaccination, we won’t know how long immunity lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.”

While knowledge about vaccine induced immunity is still not thorough, scientists and researchers are hard at work to fill in the gaps about the vaccine’s duration and effectiveness. In response to being asked how long the COVID-19 vaccine would last, Carl Zimmer at the New York Times answered,

“We don’t know. Both Moderna and Pfizer started their trials on July 27, so they have been able to follow their volunteers for only a few months so far. It’s conceivable that the vaccines provide long-lasting protection, or fade away in under a year and require a booster.”

Inability to definitively answer this question is part of the many reasons why no COVID-19 vaccine in development has been approved for widespread use in the United States. It is worth noting that this week the United Kingdom became the first Western country to officially approve a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency authorization. This move will likely give us more information on the long term effects of the vaccine.