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Study finds antibody levels remain elevated 3 months after Moderna vaccination

A new study finds that people still had high levels of antibodies three months after receiving the Moderna vaccine, positive news for estimating how long immunity to the virus from the vaccine will last.

The results published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that people will have immunity for at least three months after receiving the vaccine. It is still a serious question of how long immunity will last in total. It is possible people will have to return to get booster shots after some number of months if immunity is not long-lasting.

But the results finding elevated antibody levels three months after people received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine are encouraging, researchers said. 

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“These data give us further optimism to expect that the high level of efficacy recently demonstrated by [the vaccine] to prevent COVID-19 disease will be durable,” said Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer. 

Neutralizing antibody levels “declined slightly over time, as expected, but they remained elevated in all participants 3 months after the booster vaccination,” the letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine states. 

Study results previously showed that Moderna’s vaccine has a very high level of efficacy, at 94.1 percent, a similar level to another vaccine from Pfizer. 

Vaccinations from Moderna and Pfizer are expected to begin later this month after Food and Drug Administration authorization, starting with high-risk groups like health care workers and the elderly. 

The general public is not expected to have access to the vaccine until sometime in the spring. 

Moderna said it will have 20 million doses available in the U.S. by the end of the year, and 85 to 100 million in the first quarter of next year. Each person requires two doses.