WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Is it true that the COVID-19 vaccines are only effective for six months?
In early April claims on social media spread that the COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. only provide protection for six months.
Several viewers emailed the team about this one, including John Sellhorn from Potomac Falls, Virginia.
So let's Verify: Is it true that the COVID-19 vaccines are only effective for 6 months?
We brought that question to the experts, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dr. William Moss, Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins.
Our experts explained that six months is roughly how long it’s been since those very first patients got a dose.
"The clock is ticking, we're measuring it," Schaffner said. "We can't tell you any longer than that, because we've only used the vaccines for six months. So hold on, we all think that these vaccines gave their protection last longer than six months, but we'll tell you that as we continue to measure the duration of protection.”
The CDC also says that at this point, they don’t know how long protection lasts.
"Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity," the agency wrote. "CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available."
Dr. Moss explained that's where phase 3 trial participants could be crucial.
"That's why it's important, for example, that ...the initial phase three trial, the follow up of those individuals out two or three years to look at the duration of protection," Moss said. "So I think whenever they say like, you know, the duration of protection...at least three months, or at least six months, because basically, that's just how much time we've had because it's a very new vaccine."
Recent data from Moderna showed "antibody persistence through 6 months following the second dose of our COVID-19 vaccine."
"This gives us further confidence in the protection afforded by our COVID-19 vaccine," reads an April 7 company statement, "We remain committed to continuing to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”
So we can Verify, no, our experts say it’s not that the COVID vaccines will only work for six months. What can be said is that they are effective for at least six months, because that’s the data we have.