After vaccination, the number of antibodies gradually decreases and reaches a minimum level after about six months, in connection with which experts recommend a booster dose. Will the third vaccination be enough, or will they have to be given every 6 months?
The publication searched for answers Deutsche Welle using the latest scientific research results. In the case of mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and BioNTech / Pfizer, the booster dose is usually needed six months after full immunization. After the one-off Johnson & Johnson booster vaccination needed even earlier, recommends the Standing Commission for Vaccinations in Germany.
A logical question arises: now will you need to be vaccinated every six months? Or annually? Alas, there is no answer to it yet. Coronavirus is a recently announced challenge to humanity, and doctors do not have enough experience yet. Perhaps, scientists suggest, changes will be made to existing vaccines that will become effective when other variants of coronavirus appear, and vaccinations, like anti-influenza ones, will be given every year. New vaccines are also being developed that could change the preventive approach.
However, it is too early to make any predictions – it is not yet clear whether the pandemic will end in yet another wave or will remain with us for decades to come. Much will depend on herd immunity: the timing of its achievement and the reasons that led to it – vaccination or still most of the population will get sick.
Speaking of immunity, one should not forget about memory T cells, which are discussed in the study of British and Singaporean scientists. The results of their work were published in the specialized journal Nature in early November. In short, the essence is as follows.
Scientists have found 58 healthcare workers whose risk of contracting the coronavirus was quite high due to their professional activities. However, they never had a covid infection, and they never had a PCR test positive. The researchers found that they all belong to the group of “seronegative” people who have more multispecific memory T cells. They act against the replication-transcription complex (RTC), which is ultimately responsible for viral replication.
At the same time, all 58 doctors were found to have an increased amount of IFl27 protein, indicating a very early infection with the coronavirus. That is, these people suffered an abortive, interrupted infection. And it is possible that in this case, it was T cells that contributed to the victory over the coronavirus at an early stage.
So far, scientists have not been able to establish where these people have unusually high levels of T cells. Most likely, it appeared due to an early infection with another coronavirus, perhaps the common cold virus. The conclusion follows from this – it is possible that repeated interaction with the coronavirus, if it becomes endemic, and we come into contact with a smaller number of infectious agents, can lead to a strengthening of our immunity thanks to antibodies or T cells. And this will become the basis for the formation of herd immunity.
But so far, unfortunately, researchers can only once again warn: against the backdrop of a new wave of pandemic, it is unforgivable to treat your health without proper attention. It cannot be assumed that some already have immunity against coronavirus. After all, the risk that it is no longer there or that the protection has become less effective is still much higher.