As the Delta variant continues to threaten everyone across the U.S., many people who received the jab are left wondering how long and how completely they are protected from the virus. And if you got the Moderna vaccine, there’s now some more insight. The pharmaceutical company just released a statement detailing recent research that found that its COVID vaccine continues to be effective at least six months after the second dose, though the level of protection does shift slightly and the Delta variant could further reduce it. The data has now reignited a conversation about when Moderna recipients will need a booster shot.
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According to the Aug. 5 statement from Moderna, the company’s study found that its COVID vaccine demonstrates 93 percent effectiveness six months after immunization. The company also noted that boosters of the vaccine showed a “robust antibody responses to COVID-19 variants of concern.”
Although the Moderna vaccine continues to be durable for six months, the company says they “expect neutralizing titers will continue to wane and eventually impact vaccine efficacy.” Due to this and the presence of the Delta variant, Moderna said, “we believe [a] dose three booster will likely be necessary prior to the winter season.”
Part of the conversation about boosters centers on the challenges posed by the Delta variant. In its Aug. 5 statement, Moderna addressed the added complication of the Delta variant, which now accounts for 93 percent of new cases in the U.S. “We are pleased that our COVID-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93 percent through six months, but recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat, so we must remain vigilant,” CEO of Moderna Stéphane Bancel said in the statement.
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On June 29, Moderna released a statement detailing how its COVID vaccine stacked up against the Delta variant specifically. While the vaccine showed promising results, the antibody response was notably lower than the response to the original strain of the virus that the vaccine was targeted to fight. When the vaccine was combating the Delta variant, it had a 2.1-fold reduction in antibody response.
Although the protection against the Delta variant is not as robust as the protection the vaccine affords against the original strain, Bancel is confident it’s still substantial. “These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants,” Bancel said in a statement in response to the June results.
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The companies behind the two other COVID vaccines in the U.S. have also continued to keep the public informed about how the effectiveness of their vaccines has shifted as time has gone on. In Pfizer’s second-quarter report for 2021, released at the end of July, the company said its vaccine drops to about 84 percent effective six months after the second dose.
In statement on July 1, Johnson & Johnson said its COVID vaccine continues to provide protection for at least two-thirds of a year. They did not, however, say explicitly how much. The “durability of the immune response [of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine] lasted through at least eight months, the length of time evaluated to date,” according to the company’s statement.
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