How long does the vaccination protection against SARS-CoV-2 last? Are ongoing vaccinations necessary? Prof. Schulz tells us what is currently known about it:
Professor Schulz, how long is one protected against SARS-CoV-2 after the double vaccination?
This is not clear yet and can vary greatly between different individuals, as vaccinated people differ in the level of their immune response. Protection against SARS-CoV-2 will last longer in someone with a strong immune response to the vaccine than in someone with a weak response. On average, the protection of a vaccinated person this year should last into next year.
Will a third dose be necessary – or even an annual vaccination?
Whether a third dose will be necessary is not yet clear. This will depend on how long the immune response to the vaccination lasts and also on the spread of further virus variants. I expect a regular booster vaccination will be necessary – perhaps not every year, but probably every two to three years.
After being vaccinated twice, does the risk of infecting other people increase over time?
To the extent that immunity to SARS-CoV-2 decreases over time, the risk of becoming infected without symptoms and passing the virus on to others also increases. However, most people should be protected for some time. Even with waning immunity, the likelihood of virus transmission after infection, and also the amount of virus load, is probably always lower than for someone who has not been vaccinated or has not been infected naturally.
When are reliable findings expected regarding the duration of vaccine protection?
Speculating, I would expect it until towards the end of 2021 and better data in 2022 and 2023.
Thank you very much for the interview.