WASHINGTON – The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines might be even better than health experts originally thought with new research showing their long-term efficacy.
The data suggests the two vaccines could offer protection for years even after antibodies start to fade.
"These data suggest that some level of immunity will be long lasting," said Dr. Dan Barouch with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "How that translates into actual protection I think remains to be determined."
The findings also mean those who have had the vaccine might not need a booster shot every year.
Still, there's a small possibility some could get COVID-19 even after they've had their shots. The CDC doesn't track every breakthrough infection but reports about 4,000 out of 150 million Americans fall into that category. Their cases are significantly less severe.
The different variants continue to concern health experts, especially the highly contagious Delta variant which has now spread to 49 states.
In at least five states with lower vaccination rates – Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, and Arizona – hospitalizations are up and health officials fear pockets of dense outbreaks in these places.
But Sen. Rand Paul is saying there's no reason to fear, pointing out that the Delta variant isn't any more deadly than the other strains of COVID. He tweeted, "Don’t let the fearmongers win. New public England study of delta variant shows 44 deaths out of 53,822 (.08%) in unvaccinated group. Hmmm."
Don’t let the fearmongers win. New public England study of delta variant shows 44 deaths out of 53,822 (.08%) in unvaccinated group. Hmmm.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 29, 2021
Meanwhile, as the July 4th holiday approaches, the federal government is urging local governments to target high-risk communities with vaccine drives. And while the White House was hoping to reach 70 percent vaccination by that date, the administration says it's still aiming to meet that goal within the coming weeks.