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Will people have to get booster shots for COVID-19?

A new study says booster shots may not be needed for people immunized with mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna.

AUSTIN, Texas — Will we need any more COVID-19 shots? It's a question Dr. Ogechika Alozie said people have asked for some time now. 

"There has been historically a lot of concern about, 'Wow, do I need to get a booster this fall? Do I need one every year?'" said Alozie, who is a member of Texas Medical Association's COVID-19 Task Force. "And I have been one of those people that have been, 'Let's pump the brakes on boosters,' especially when they're pushed by CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies. Let's let that science and data align."

Alozie said the findings from a new study published in the science journal "Nature" say boosters may not be needed for people who got immunized from one of the mRNA vaccines. 

Alozie said while doctors expected this to be the case, he said it's exciting to see the research line up with their thoughts.  

"We know from the 1918 pandemic that those individuals who got sick then had T and B cell responses all the way up to a few years ago, those that were still alive. And so it is expected that these mRNA vaccines especially will give long-lasting protection," Alozie said of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

   

However, Alozie explained that while it may give years-long protection for some, it may not be the case for everyone. He said people who are immunocompromised or going through chemotherapy are two examples. 

"Those that have other issues that may not allow the immune system to work, they may need a booster. But I think, again, on average, the average person is unlikely to need a booster. And I think this is exciting news," said Alozie. 

This research comes as the Delta variant continues to spread. 

KVUE asked how findings would be impacted if COVID-19 continues to mutate. Alozie said vaccinated people shouldn't be worried. 

"The vaccines that you've got created a T and a B cell response to multiple points on the virus, up to 52 different places. Even if the virus mutates by 12, you've still got 40 left," said Alozie. "And our immune system is amazing. These mRNA vaccines are amazing. I have no concern that, variant or not, the average vaccinated person will be protected."

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