No one knows how long these vaccines will last. It’s likely to be at least a year, if not longer.
The key question about lasting is these variants you’ve probably heard about. So popping up around the world are new versions, mutants, if you like, of these viruses. They’re called strains. They’re not really strains. They’re just mutants of the virus and they’re usually more contagious.
The British one looks as if it’s more dangerous as well, and that’s the problem is when these mutants are not as effective against the vaccine, or the vaccine is not as effective against these mutants. So the British one, they seem to be okay.
The South African one seems to be a problem, and as we become more and more immunised there will be more mutants that escape the vaccine, and therefore the booster is not so much that the immunity is going to wane, it’s that what you’re immunised against isn’t fully covering the infection, just like influenza.
So my prediction is that quite likely, if you were gonna bet on it, I would say 80% chance that in 2022 we’ll all need a booster with a new variant of the vaccines.
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist