COVID boosters offer 4 to 5 months of protection, study finds

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Alysen Shields preps Dr. Grant Gilroy for his COVID-19 vaccination. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

COVID-19 booster vaccinations extend protection against moderate and severe cases for four to five months, according to a national study co-authored by researchers at Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute and other agencies across the country.

“While there have been recommendations for booster shots for a while, until now we haven’t had strong evidence of their effectiveness and how long that effectiveness lasts,” study co-author Brian Dixon of Regenstrief and Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health said in written remarks.

“The recommendations to get boosted that were issued by the CDC months ago, were, in fact, the right recommendations,” Dixon added. “Booster doses are necessary to maintain a high level of immunity to severe COVID.”

The national study of 893,000 adults was designed to gauge the effectiveness and durability of the third and fourth doses of COVID vaccine boosters.

The study found that protection against hospitalization increased substantially after a booster shot but waned in four to five months. The waning pattern for the Moderna and Pfizer boosters were similar. 

 “If it has been four months or longer since your last COVID booster, or if you had the initial two shots and have never received a booster, you should strongly consider a bivalent booster, which targets ancestral strains of the COVID virus plus subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5,” said study co-author Shaun Grannis, Regenstrief’s vice president for data and analytics.

The study’s authors estimate that booster shots could prevent 300 hospitalizations for severe COVID in the United States every week.

The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VISION Network. Aside from Regenstrief, other network members are Columbia University Irving Medical Center, HealthPartners, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, University of Colorado and Paso Del Norte Health Information Exchange.

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13 thoughts on “COVID boosters offer 4 to 5 months of protection, study finds

  1. Prevent 300 hospitalizations every week, you just have to inject it into 300,000,000 people.

    So, 10,000 injections to prevent 1 hospitalization.

    What a crock.

  2. Wow, what a tremendous adjustment to their narrative. First, take the “vaccine” and you will never get Covid. Next, now take the boosters and it will strengthen the “vaccine” and reduce the severity. And finally, take the next 25 boosters and you can possibly have 4-5 months of protection. Not bad for spending billions of dollars and injecting “Lord knows what” into our bodies. Well done. Well done. Cannot imagine why no one trusts the government.

    1. Vince, no one ever promised that getting vaccinated would prevent you from getting covid. It was stated that the vaccine was 95% effective at reducing the severity of the infection and would reduce your odds of ending up in the hospital on a respirator. No vaccine is 100% effective. But all vaccines help prevent disabilities (polio) and debilitating infections (shingles, influenza, and covid). If you wish to not believe this reality, that is your right. But please spare the rest of us from your misinformation.

    2. Brent, definitely not true. We have President Biden clearly saying on record that you will not get Covid with the vaccine. Our President. This so called “vaccine” even forced the CDC to change the very definition of “vaccine” to a “therapeutic”. It was only later that they took on the narrative that it would reduce the strength of the Covid virus. So, beg to differ with the “misinformation” claim. Follow the chronology of the alleged vaccine or send me your email and I will be happy to send it to you.

    3. Vince, therapeutics and vaccines are two distinctly difference medicines. The latter is used before infection, the former as a post-infection treatment. As for citing President Biden’s alleged claim, I could believe you on that IF you always agree with his statements.

  3. Some of the previous reader comments here seem designed to be categorical in their rejection of the vaccine, boosters and associated research. Those individuals have a right to their interpretations; however, they greatly miss the point. The early efforts to implore citizens to get vaccinated was an effort to quell the spread of a virulent and unpredictable virus. (Similar to a MANDATORY EVACUATION when an impending Cat 4 or 5 hurricane is heading your way). Heed or not to heed…..the consequences are yours.

    Early on, many of us made the decision to get the vaccine because we felt it would provide some protection from getting the virus. Subsequent boosters were approached with the same belief. Primary vaccination and follow up boosters were often considered and administered for the same reason. Science supported this rationale just as it supported another consideration for choosing to get vaccinated and boosted….protecting others; i.e., coworkers, at risk individuals, family members, others that one may likely come in contact with during their daily activities.

    In the end, this is a risk assessment decision. You’re willing to forego the science and risk mitigation data regarding vaccination and boosters…that is fine. I assume you will be dropping your life insurance policies and home owner’s policies and writing strong letters to your mortgage companies (if you have a mortgage) as to why the chances of your house burning down are 1 in 1 million. Damn them for making you do something that likely won’t happen. Just remember, no government agency or government individual is saying you HAVE to get the vaccine or booster……but that choice does come with potential negative consequences. You weigh your risk, I’ll weigh mine.

    Now, to the IBJ….it would be helpful if you would provide a link for readers who would like to get a booster to know where they can get one.

    1. Number needed to treat the general population is 10,000.

      That is such an astronomer high NNT that it makes zero sense to inoculate the entire population.

      What’s the Number Needed to Harm (NNH)? Interesting how that was omitted from the article.

  4. Several weeks ago, I received the bivalent booster (my third booster since the initial inoculation shots). I am assuming that the study referenced in this story doesn’t include this newest vaccine since it has not been in the population long enough to measure effectiveness. Regardless, I would rather take the shot than not, as there were ample stories of anti-vaxxers who on their deathbeds expressed regrets about not getting vaccinated for covid. And, if the conspiracy theorists are right about vaccines being a plot to inject tracking chips in us, then have at it. I’ve had enough vaccine shots (polio, tetanus, influenza, pneumonia, shingles, and covid) to enable the CIA to track my whereabouts everywhere. Smile…I’m on candid camera!

    1. Agreed – I equate my covid shots to my car insurance. I don’t know if I need it until I do!

  5. Antivaxxers spend tremendous amounts of time looking for nothing other than excuses to support a lifestyle brand identity. Arguments such as “Joe Biden said the vaccine would be perfect and it’s not, so I’m not getting it” are devoid of critical thinking. I just saw maybe last week that a new study is out showing excess deaths after the start of the pandemic and pre-introduction of vaccines were equal between Republicans and Democrats. Post the availability of the vaccines, the excess death rate for Republicans began to creep higher than that for Democrats and it has remained so. Show these people data and their minds remain locked shut.
    A projection just came out from the Commonwealth Fund indicating that boosters could save maybe 90,000 lives this winter. We’re still losing 300 to 400 people a day – the great majority of those resisted vaccines. Who remembers 9/11 – very significant adjustments to US society that are now 20 years old. Today, some of us can’t roll up our sleeve periodically for the sake of making a personal stand on ridiculous non-principle while our country’s families deal with another 9/11 every 10 days.

    All these arguments are talking around what’s just common sense – it’s simply “best practice”. Continuous improvement, be all you can be, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you control your own destiny – all slogans in the same vein from conservatives of the past. Getting vaccinated is common sense demonstration of that kind of attitude. Sure, I could fire up the welder without eye protection and and get lucky and not have eye damage or I could jump in the spray booth without a respirator and still walk away without lung damage, but what would be my common sense reason for doing so? Would I be proving some kind of pointless point and to what end? The prior comments here about insurance are spot on.

    Mass psychosis – there’s never been anything more demonstratively folly than this anti-vax stance. Literally, hundreds of thousands of people in this country signed up (or didn’t, because an unvaccinated family member who might have avoided illness got a vaccinated family member sick and they died) to a slow rolling mass suicide in order to make what statement exactly? I always come back to the same mental image – the Black Knight in the Holy Grail – inability to give up on an obvious position of abject failure – satire depicting the real world tragedy of faulty logic.