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VERIFY: COVID-19 vaccines offer protection for at least 6 months, maybe longer

Experts say people will likely need a COVID-19 vaccine booster within 12 months of being fully vaccinated to protect against emerging variants of the virus.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Nearly 30% of Washington residents and roughly 25% of Idaho residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As a growing number of people get the COVID-19 vaccine, several people have reached out to the KREM 2 Verify Team to ask how long protection from the shot lasts. Viewer Cindy recently asked via email: “How long does the Covid vaccine last? What is the protocol to [get] revaccinated, say in 6 months?”

To answer this question, the KREM 2 Verify Team reached out Dr. Anna Wald, who serves as Director of the University of Washington’s Virology Research Clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Wald also serves as a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Laboratory Medicine.

We also spoke with Dr. Payal Kohli, a cardiologist and KREM 2 Medial Expert.

“So, we know based on recent data, at least both from Pfizer and Moderna that the vaccine offers robust protection for at least 6 months, possible longer,” Dr. Kohli said.

Dr. Wald added, “Well, I think the answer is we won’t know until enough time lapses so we can assess it, right? These are new vaccines and the data is showing that there’s a strong immune response that last’s at least 6 months and that is very encouraging.”

Doctors Wald and Kohli also point out that the vaccines may offer protection beyond six months but researchers simply can’t say yet because the vaccines are so new. As more time passes and more studies are conducted, we’ll learn more about how long the vaccines will protect us from COVID-19.

“So, obviously we have to study it. We have to measure the antibody response in people who are vaccinated, said Dr. Wald. “Now we have 6 months, but then we’ll have a year, two years, etcetera after vaccination.”

That brings up another topic: booster shots. The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, recently said that individuals will likely need a booster shot within 12 months of being fully vaccinated, which would provide added protection against emerging variants of the virus.

“Another question that comes up is whether or not it (the booster) needs to be the same manufacturer as the original vaccine and that’s currently under clinical trials,” Dr. Kohli said. "They’re looking at a mix-and-match trial in Europe where they’re trying to mix and match two different types of vaccines to see if it proves even more affective at boosting the immune system.”

But back to the original question: how long does the COVID-19 vaccine last?

We can verify that the vaccines currently in use in the United States last at least 6 months, possibly longer.

Have something you want verified? Email our VERIFY team at verify@krem.com

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