CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — If you’re worried about staying healthy during the current “tripledemic,” you might want to make sure you’re up to date on your boosters. According to new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, boosters from both Pfizer and Moderna can make your antibodies to COVID-19 last longer than a primary series of vaccinations.
For the last study, Jeffrey Wilson, a senior researcher at UVA Health’s Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, and his collaborators compared antibody levels in 117 UVA employee volunteers who received a booster to levels seen in 228 volunteers after their primary vaccinations.
While antibody levels in the two groups were similar up to 31 days after vaccination, the boosted antibodies lasted longer. This happened regardless of whether the person who received the vaccine had previously recovered from COVID-19.
“Our initial thought was that boosters would lead to higher antibody levels than the primary vaccine series, but that was not what we found,” Samuel Ailsworth, a researcher in the study, said. “Instead, we found that the booster led to longer lasting antibodies.”
According to a release from UVA Health, antibody levels naturally decline over time after an infection or vaccination, but higher levels of antibodies are thought to be more protective. For this reason, longer-lasting antibodies could provide more immunity against COVID-19.
The researchers also found that the antibodies generated by the Moderna booster proved longer lasting than those generated by the Pfizer booster — with the Moderna antibody levels lasting five months — to the end of the study. In a previous study, the researchers found that the antibodies generated by Pfizer’s primary COVID-19 vaccine rose more slowly and declined more quickly than those generated by the Moderna vaccine.
However, Wilson notes that other recently published studies have shown that both mRNA vaccine boosters provide fairly similar levels of protection against COVID-19.
This study also found that younger booster recipients initially generated more antibodies than older recipients, but this difference disappeared with time. Previously, the researchers found that older recipients of the Pfizer vaccine generated fewer antibodies than younger recipients, except for those that received the Moderna booster, where age did not appear to make a difference.
Wilson notes that this study, in addition to his collaborators’ previous work, adds to the evidence that boosters are an important part of protecting yourself, your family and your community from COVID-19.
“Although only about half of the U.S. population that is eligible for a booster has received one, it is increasingly clear that boosters enhance the protection that is conferred by the primary series mRNA vaccines alone,” he said.