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mRNA vaccines protect from coronavirus three times longer

Vaccines are locked in an endless arms race with viruses, as illustrated by omicron's knack for breakthrough infections.

As the White House weighs summer boosters, a new study in the journal PNAS explores how long coronavirus inoculations last.

The analysis of four vaccines shows all of their initial spikes of protection quickly wane.

But peak antibody levels for the two mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, last nearly three times as long as the viral vector vaccines Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca, which resemble the trajectory of natural immunity following infection.

To restrict chances of future breakthroughs to 5% or less, the authors say the latter group should receive a booster within 5 months, while those fully immunized with mRNA vaccines who have no other exposures can wait up to a year.

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.