FACT FINDERS: Vaccine protection, eight months later

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many vaccinated people have questions about how much protection they have against the virus.

University of Arizona Immunobiologist Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya says the vaccine is proving to wane a little against the original variants after eight months.

He says it goes from about 96% effective down to about 84%. But, he says, the hot-button question sparking debate among experts is whether it has waned much more rapidly when faced with Delta. They’re trying to determine that now.

As for people who have compromised immune systems, since their bodies may not have produced as many antibodies after getting the vaccine, how do they know how much protection they have either before or after a booster? Dr. Bhattacharya says the answer to that question is a bit of a moving target.

”We’re starting to get a little bit closer towards saying a certain level of antibodies is correlated with X percent protection but it changes with every new variant,” he said. “And so, we started to get a little bit of a sense to how many you needed with COVID classic. How many you need against Delta is almost certainly more.”

He says those who are immunocompromised can test to see their antibody levels before and after the booster. However, he says, how that translates into protection against the virus is something experts can’t answer right now.

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