Study finds COVID-19 vaccine booster may not be needed, immunity could last for years – WAVE 3

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is reporting four new COVID-19 deaths. The health department says none of them had been vaccinated.

This comes as a study out of the medical school at Washington University in St. Louis finds the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could protect people from the virus for years without a booster shot.

Dr. Jackson Turner is an instructor of immunology and pathology at Washington University and one of the researchers on this study.

“The immune response that gets generated by these vaccines appears to be very robust and very durable and very protective,” Dr. Turner says.

The research found that four months after vaccination, immune cells in the lymph nodes are still able to specifically target the virus.

“Some of which can produce antibodies for many, many decades,” Dr. Turner says. “Some of which can be re-activated upon secondary exposure so if someone were to encounter the virus again, these memory cells can re-engage with the virus and help fight it off again.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department continues to hold vaccination clinics throughout the week.

Tracy Jones moved to Springfield from Georgia and getting vaccinated was at the top of her priority list, especially after losing loved ones to COVID-19 over the last year.

”I’m thrilled that the vaccine will last for years,” Jones says. “That is a miracle.”

Jones says she did her own research online and wanted a vaccine that would protect her from the virus and the variants going around. That’s why she got her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday at a clinic in Springfield.

“The type that were mRNA seemed to be doing better in trials than the ones that weren’t,” Jones says.

Dr. Turner says the vaccine is still highly effective against the variants we’re seeing right now. However, Dr. Turner says the big unknown is if the coronavirus continues to mutate into other variants in the future.

“It may be able to evade the vaccine responses which could make booster shots necessary with different strains of the virus,” Dr. Turner says.

Jones says she doesn’t want to see the community go backwards as positive case numbers continue to rise in Springfield.

“I don’t want to see us return back to the times when I can’t go to work in person and I can’t go to the store without being scared,” Jones says.

Dr. Turner says his research team is currently recruiting people who had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to see the long-term immune response to that vaccine.

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