The immunity provided from a coronavirus vaccine might only be temporary

  • Coronavirus vaccines may only offer short-term immunity
  • It may be similar to vaccines like the flu shot, which are yearly
  • Fauci said we will have 100 million doses by the end of the year

Possible options for coronavirus vaccines have been making headlines for weeks as pharmaceutical companies Moderna and AstraZeneca work to get vaccines ready for trials. However, new developments suggest vaccines might only provide temporary protection from the coronavirus. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on June 2 that he worries about the “durability” of the vaccine, indicating that it may only offer short-term immunity. This means that the immunity from a vaccine, in theory, would need to be topped off by a yearly or twice-yearly inoculation, similar to the flu vaccine.

“When you look at the history of coronaviruses, the common coronaviruses that cause the common cold, the reports in the literature are that the durability of immunity that’s protective ranges from three to six months to almost always less than a year,” Fauci told JAMA Editor Howard Bauchner. “That’s not a lot of durability and protection.”

Despite lack of confidence in the longevity of immunity from such vaccines, Fauci said that there should be 100 million doses made by the end of 2020 and 200 million in the beginning of 2021. 

The CDC’s Principles of Vaccination indicate that this short term immunity is known as “passive immunity,” which uses animal or human-derived antibodies to provide immunity as opposed to injecting the disease itself. This is an artificial immunity which needs to be “topped off,” so to speak, every few months to a year, depending on how long it takes to wear off. 

Sources: CNBC, CNN, CDC

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