COVID19: Older people may need booster jab in autumn

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The elderly might need to get a third COVID-19 vaccine jab in the autumn as it remains unclear how long immunity lasts after vaccination, a government advisor said.

Virologist Dr Petros Karayiannis, a government COVID committee member, told the Cyprus News Agency that nothing had been decided about the booster jab, but decisions will be taken soon.

He said that most countries have begun to place their orders for batches of the vaccines in case they need to inoculate their population again.

“So far, we know that all the vaccines are efficient against variants of the virus, but the vaccines are not so efficient towards the South African variant,” said Karayiannis.

He said the scientific community hopes there will be sufficient immunization and high levels of antibodies produced.

“If these antibodies do not last more than a year, we might need to inoculate people with a booster.”

“There is no room for complacency because we do not know yet how long the immunization lasts, and we need to have in mind that vaccinations have not reached high percentages in poorer countries.”

The scientist said that combining different vaccines and their efficacy and which vaccine provides the best protection is also being studied.

COVID has been around for such a short time that experts are still learning how long our immunity lasts after infection – and after vaccination.

Some scientists believe it highly likely that, as with flu jabs, we will need boosters of the Covid vaccine every year to protect against winter surges and new variants.