ATLANTA — We’re starting to learn much more about how long the COVID-19 vaccine protects us from the virus.
Pfizer announced Thursday that its vaccine offers strong protection for at least six months.
We realize some people might hear that and worry that means they have to get another shot in just months. That’s possible, but it appears more likely the shots will protect you for even longer.
As a dental assistant in Buckhead, Ivan Morales received both of his COVID-19 vaccine shots in January. That made him among the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“It was the one that was just given to us. We didn’t really have a say,” Morales said. “I was actually kind of excited because I’m just kind of ready to get over all this coronavirus nonsense.”
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On Thursday, Pfizer announced that Ivan and other Georgians who’ve received the company’s vaccine will have strong protection from the virus for “at least” six months.
“I’m not really too worried about it. It’s kind of like a flu shot. You get that every year because viruses mutate and things like that,” Morales said.
But experts told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that it’s likely the vaccine will offer protection for much longer than six months.
“I think we’re going to have to annually revisit this based on on-going studies. We’ve just started inoculating people with the first dose. New studies are coming out. We’ll have to see what the immunity looks like at nine months, at 12 months,” said Dr. Chirag Patel with Wellstar Health System.
Scientists are still conducting trials on the long-term effectiveness of all the vaccines, but Patel believes it’s likely we’ll all need annual shots.
“What studies are showing is at six months is when the immunity starts to wane. It doesn’t necessarily go to zero,” Patel said.
So far, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, more than 2.1 one million Georgians have received the Pfizer vaccine.
Morales told Wilfon that he hopes it offers protection for longer than six months.
“Yes, it would be surprising and I’m not really sure how I would react to that,” Morales said.
However long the protection lasts, Morales said his message to others remains the same -- get the vaccine.
“I think once everyone gets vaccinated, we can get rid of this virus,” Morales said.
In that same announcement Thursday, Pfizer said its vaccine is 100% effective against severe disease as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Wednesday, the company announced their vaccine was also 100% effective in a trial of children ages 12-15.
Cox Media Group