LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Half of a million Arkansas adults and about 1 in 4 US adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
But there are concerns of how long the vaccine will provide immunity and if it'll measure up to new variants.
We've received several viewer questions, like this one from Debra:
"Pfizer and Moderna are both saying their vaccines are effective for 6 months. Does that mean we need to get another vaccine 6 months after receiving the first vaccine?"
To find out the answer we talked to Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health and asked: How long do we have immunity from these vaccines? Do they only last 6 months?
According to Dr. Dillaha, there isn't a sure answer yet on how long these vaccines will last because they've only been tracked for six months.
"And they still look very good. So, it could be another year, another 5 years, 10 years, we don't know yet," Dr. Dillaha said.
Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines have been through trials and distributed less than a year ago, so right now, we only have research about how effective they are for up to 6 months. It's even too early to develop booster shots according to Dr. Dillaha.
"It is possible a booster shot will be recommended, but we won't know until we know how long the immunity lasts."
Basically, it's too early to verify if we'll need more shots. But it's not out of the question.
Also, the more contagious UK and South African COVID-19 variants are now in Arkansas. Dr. Dillaha says it's important to keep the spread low as we get more people immunized.
"I'm especially concerned about the UK variant. It is becoming the predominant variant in the United States and it appears it is actually a worse disease than the variants we've had up until now."
And even though you might have already been infected with COVID-19, it's recommended you still get the vaccine to help build antibodies against the virus.
"It is likely that the vaccine's protection will last a lot longer than the protection that people get from natural infection."
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