New data shows Pfizer COVID vaccine provides immunity for at least 6 months

Experts originally believed immunity would last between 90 days and four months.
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 9:31 PM EDT
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Long lines as Avery County begins 65+ COVID-19 vaccinations
Long lines as Avery County begins 65+ COVID-19 vaccinations(WBTV)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The data surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines continues to improve as experts learn more about the medicines.

Thursday, representatives from Pfizer and BioNTech confirmed immunity to the virus from their vaccine lasts at least six months from the second dose, longer than the original 90-day expectation.

Overall, the vaccine has been confirmed to be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100% effective at preventing what the Centers for Disease Control considers “severe disease.”

Furthermore, Pfizer representatives said Wednesday a small trial of 12 to 15-year-old adolescents showed the vaccine is 100% effective in that age group.

UofL Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said the new data is encouraging.

“At every turn, what we’ve seen from really all of the vaccine manufacturers are it’s safe and effective, we can expand its use in age groups, it lasts longer than we hoped it would and it covers the variants,” Smith said. “So that’s everything that we can have really hoped for. And thus far, we haven’t had a huge setback. We’ve administered hundreds of millions of doses across the world right now, and we haven’t seen a huge setback or a huge outbreak of any real problems associated with the vaccine.”

Smith also thinks the six-month designation could be pushed even longer as scientists keep learning about the virus and the vaccines.

“This is an evolving process of a real-life vaccine deployment,” Smith said. “I do think it’ll hopefully be within a year or two. I do think we will probably wind up being in a spot where we’ve got either semi-annual or annual vaccinations, similar to a flu shot.”

On Thursday, roughly 1,400 people received Pfizer’s COVID-19 at UofL Health’s vaccine site on Brook Street and Liberty Street.

John Howard and his wife Susan received their second doses of the vaccine, causing him to pull out his razor in celebration.

“Well, a year ago, I started a growing a beard in March when all this started,” Howard said. “This morning I took the beard off.”

Gary Utterback also received his second dose, which he said means it’s finally time to break out the tackle box.

“I can go fishing again,” Utterback said.

UofL Health will open Cardinal Stadium as the city of Louisville’s next mass vaccination site on April 12th.

To book an appointment, click here.

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