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How long will COVID-19 vaccine protection last?

Posted at 4:00 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 10:12:34-04

As more and more Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine -- including more than four million administered in Arizona alone -- the question now becomes: how long are you protected once you're fully vaccinated? Doctors have an idea, but there's still no clear-cut answer.

Our ABC15 Health Insider, Dr. Janice Johnston, medical director of Redirect Health, gives us some insight.

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"We think it's probably about a year, but who knows? We don't know right now."

Dr. Johnston points to two recent studies released this month, showing promising results for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The only caveats are variants.

The data from both studies showed that protection from the coronavirus stayed relatively high at least six months after an individual was fully vaccinated.

Although all three vaccines that currently have emergency-use authorization from the FDA seem to hold up to variants as well, it's too early to tell what new variants will be out there in the future and how or if they would respond to the vaccine.

As scientists work to learn how long protection will last, Dr. Johnston is looking to another common ailment for clues.

"COVID is going to act more like the flu virus than it will act like tetanus," she explains. "That's the way I will look at it."

The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at