Health expert says immune response continues despite the booster protection fades after four months
San Francisco, California – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the protection against COVID-19 after getting the booster shot fades after four months.
The announcement from the CDC comes three months after the third vaccine dose became available for people 18 and older in California.
“What the booster did is increase production of antibodies for a while, 10 weeks to four months. Those antibodies are going to come down with time, but that doesn’t mean your immune response wanes. It just means one aspect of the immune response. Your T-cells and B-cells are still there to protect you against severe disease,” UCSF Infectious Disease and Professor of Medicine, Dr. Monica Gandhi, said.
According to Dr. Gandhi, the initial first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine proved to be very effective against the virus and the protection from them lasted longer than the protection from the booster. Those first two doses prepare the body to react whenever it is needed.
“Our T-cells and our B-cells are still there. The B-cells are the recipe to make more antibodies and they can make antibodies anytime they see COVID and may take a couple days. T-cells will help them make antibodies,” Dr. Gandhi added.
A recent study shows that the booster’s efficiency against hospitalizations remained high, at 78 percent, four months after obtaining it. Health experts are noticing the difference because, according to the latest data statewide, people who did get the booster shot are getting less sick and only a minor number of them have been admitted to hospitals.
But health experts like Dr. Maria Raven are expressing their concerns as people are approaching the four-month protection period.
“High risk people whose booster immunity may be waning might be at high risk of hospitalization now that we are coming to that 3-4 month mark. I would say the encouraging thing though is that case rates over all are decreasing,” Dr. Raven said.
When asked if people need to obtain the 4th dose to extend their protection, Dr. Gandhi said she believes certain groups of people, like the immunocompromised and the elderly, will need to obtain the 4th dose.
Dr. Gandhi feels that we are about one month away from a statewide endemic. In other words, there will be COVID instances in our state, but the virus will be easier to handle due to the experience we have gained in the last two years.
“We have the tools to control it and keep our hospitalizations low. Those two tools are vaccination and therapeutics,” said Dr. Gandhi.