COVID-19: How long does immunity from vaccine last?
India is carrying out an ambitious inoculation program against the coronavirus, vaccinating lakhs everyday. But a major question concerns both the authorities and the public - for how long will the jab provide protection? It is important to find an answer to that to ascertain when and how often will booster doses be needed, if at all. Let's see what we know so far.
How long does it take to build immunity after vaccination?
Officials at the World Health Organization say that a strong immune response is generated only two weeks after the administration of the second dose of the vaccine. In India, the recommended time interval between the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is as following: Covishield: 12-16 weeks. COVAXIN: four to six weeks. Sputnik V: 21-90 days.
Short answer is the duration is not yet clear
Now, addressing the duration for which the immunity may last, scientists say they don't yet have a clear answer to offer. That's simply because we are only about 1.5 years into the pandemic and studies are still underway. "So we are really going to have to wait for time to pass to see just how long these vaccines last," Dr Katherine O'Brien has said.
Are there any estimates available as yet?
Ongoing trials indicate that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine remain highly effective for at least six months and likely longer than that. Similarly, the antibodies generated after the two-dose Moderna vaccine also last at least six months. Both these vaccines are not being used in India as yet. Covishield, the most prevalent vaccine in India, can provide protection for a year or longer.
People infected and later immunized may enjoy longer protection
A recent report in The New York Times cited two studies to inform that people who recovered from coronavirus and were later immunized may stay protected for at least one year and possibly throughout their life.
Can you get infected after the vaccination?
You can get infected anytime after receiving your first or second dose of the coronavirus. However, the silver lining is that antibodies generated from the inoculation will most likely protect you from severe disease or death. According to the data released by the Indian government, less than 0.05% of those who were vaccinated got infected with COVID-19.
How is vaccination drive going in India?
India is struggling to vaccinate its huge population at the desired pace - More than 21 crore doses have been administered, however, just above 3% of Indians have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The government says it is taking several measures to improve the situation and aims to vaccinate all adults by the end of this year.