Study finds lasting protection from COVID-19 vaccines

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Study finds lasting protection from COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccination offers long-lasting protection from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, according to the results of a new study.

Results of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that declining immunity is responsible for breakthrough infections, but vaccines maintain protection from hospitalization and severe disease at least nine months after getting the first shot.

The emergence of the Delta and omicron variants has raised questions about whether breakthrough infections are caused by the more transmissible variants or waning immunity.

“The primary takeaway message from our study is that unvaccinated people should get vaccinated right away,” Danyu Lin, PhD, Dennis Gillings Distinguished professor of biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in a statement. “The results of our study also underscore the importance of booster shots, especially for older adults.”

As my colleagues in healthcare are seeing, Omicron may be milder than Delta, but it’s not necessarily mild. Our ongoing pandemic is in large part a pandemic among the unvaccinated.

People who are unvaccinated against COVID are

  • about six times more likely to test positive than vaccinated people,
  • nine times more likely to be hospitalized, and
  • 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related complications.

What we don’t know yet, but what also concerns me, is what percent of folks who get what they think is a “mild” Omicron will end up with the ravages of Long Covid. Time will tell.

Forty-seven million eligible American adults and more than twelve million teens are still not fully vaccinated and remain at the highest risk of disease.

For any of my readers, if you or your family members are not yet vaccinated against COVID, please carefully consider the benefits of vaccination. Roll up your sleeves and get protected and then boosted, especially if you will be around those who are at higher risk or children under the age of five who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

COVID vaccination is truly a way for each of us to love our family, our friends, our colleagues, and our community.

The study results were used by the CDC to support the use of booster shots. see the full story in Pharmacy Times online.

This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.



  1. Patricia says:

    Why do I subscribe to you ? No, no idea. You’re not curious why Israel is about to start their fourth round of shots? What kind of vaccine is this? it’s not, it acts more like a therapeutic! You’re not even looking at those who have been vaccine injured and you have NO Idea what the long term implications are because there is not a control group anymore. Count me out. You just cannot see.

    • Patricia,

      Thanks for the note. You probably won’t read this, but here are my thoughts on your comments.

      Regarding the study from Israel, this RCT found, “The fourth shot of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies to even higher levels than the third jab but it is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, according to a preliminary study in Israel.” Patricia, this is how scientists learn. We do studies. It’s also why Moderna and Pfizer are now studying an Omicron-specific booster. And these ongoing studies are almost completely needed because of the spread of COVID particularly among the unvaccinated folks in our population.

      Regarding “long-term implications” it’s true that reports of new side effects can sometimes take months to emerge as a vaccine goes from populations of thousands in clinical trials to millions in the real world, encountering natural variations in human responses along the way. But more than 211 million Americans are fully vaccinated and have already passed that point in their vaccinations and the first participants in the clinical trials are now approaching two years since their jabs.

      So far, incidents of severe side effects for the coronavirus vaccines such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome and heart inflammation are very rare, and they were discovered quickly because they were on official lists of potential problems to watch for. What’s more, all these and other side effects appear soon after someone has taken the vaccine, suggesting that people don’t need to worry about delayed long-term reactions. Also, this picture fits with the modern history of vaccinations, which shows that most new immunizations have been incredibly safe, and even the most severe effects have reared their ugly heads right away.

      “Side-effects nearly always occur within a couple of weeks of a person being vaccinated,” says John Grabenstein, director of scientific communication for the Immunization Action Coalition. He adds that the longest time before a side effect appeared for any type of shot has been six weeks.

      “The concerns that something will spring up later with the COVID-19 vaccines are not impossible, but based on what we know, they aren’t likely,” adds Miles Braun, adjunct professor of medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and the former director of the division of epidemiology at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

      If you’re at all interested in learning more about this, Nat Geo has an excellent article explaining:

      It’s been said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Time will tell, but I expect the truth will eventually set one or both of us free.

      Dr. Watl

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