Third dose of anti-Covid vaccine: what duration of protection does it offer?

VACCINATION – La Haute Autorité de Santé has given the green light to a third dose, in France, for those over 40 years of age. But what duration of immunity does this booster vaccine grant?

If you’ve been vaccinated with two doses, here’s how your protection changes over time: A curve showing TF1 20H in the video at the top of this article, based on data from the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that protection against the risk of developing a severe form decreases after six months.

Protection against the risk of contracting Covid falls further during the same period. Thus, at six months, the efficacy of the vaccine against infection increases from 88% to 47%.

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From this observation arises the interest in the third dose. Because scientists have shown that it could strengthen our immunity. “The third dose greatly modifies the immune response and bounces it completely. This awakening of immune memory is so strong that protection is probably seen as early as 48 hours after this vaccine,” explains Christine Rouzioux, Professor Emeritus. of virology at the Academy of Medicine and Pharmacy.

More specifically, it is as if the patient is teaching his body a recipe to defend itself against the virus. During the first two injections, your cells will first have to learn the procedure for making antibodies. By the end of the third, they already know the recipe and will therefore produce more quickly and in greater numbers.

The example of Israel

Thus, an Israeli study of nearly 1.5 million people observed, in the weeks after the third dose, a 93% drop in the risk of ending up in hospital. But this vaccine booster could also act to keep us from getting contaminated.

Since July 2021, the Hebrew state has gradually opened the third dose to different categories of the population, according to age, starting with the elderly. For each age group, the number of cases decreased a few weeks after the start of the booster injections.

Immunity from a booster shot often lasts for several years.

But, for how long does this immunity to the virus increase? “At least six months. We can expect it to be more, perhaps on the order of a year. But here, of course, we are hypotheses”, analyzes Professor Elisabeth Bouvet, specialist in infectious diseases, president of the technical commission of vaccination of the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS).

And to add: “We have models for the other infections that we remind ourselves of. And the immunity they give us lasts, in general, several years. In the case of the booster vaccine against Covid, we can wait.”

Read also

  • Covid-19: Vaccine Strategy Guidance Council paves the way for third dose for all adults
  • 3rd dose of vaccine: calendar, interested public, make an appointment … all about the withdrawal campaign against Covid-19

Either way, this immunity from the third dose will depend on how the virus progresses. Because a new variation could make the vaccine lose its effectiveness.

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