How a third dose could help vulnerable people ‘level up’ their immunity

COVID booster vaccine: how a third dose could help vulnerable people 'level up' their immunity

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The COVID vaccine calls our immune system to work, producing antibodies against any exposure we have to the virus. Antibodies help reduce the effects of the infection or even prevent it altogether. Scientists have estimated that vaccination has prevented Millions of people died from COVID all around the world.

Studies also indicate the possibility of long-term or persistent symptoms (“prolonged COVID”) significantly reduced to anyone who gets COVID after being immunized.

Although vaccination offers effective protection, the immunity produced by the COVID vaccine wanes in the months that follow. Coronaviruses also continue to evolve over time, with better recent delta and omicron variations dodge the body’s defenses than previous viruses. With this in mind, many countries around the world have implemented increase (third) dosage.

in us new researchMy colleagues and I want to know the effectiveness of the first booster vaccine in creating antibody. We are particularly interested in how those most vulnerable to COVID respond to the first surge, as these groups have engaged a smaller immune response after the first and second doses.

We found that the first boost increased antibody levels across the board, bringing the most vulnerable groups closer to the rest of the population.

What we did

We worked with more than 9,000 participants from two long-term UK studies, TwinsEnglish and Children of the 90’s. We asked participants to use home testing kits to collect themselves blood sample, then they send it to the lab for testing. We also asked them to complete surveys about their health and experiences during the pandemic that we used in our analysis.

In blood samples, we measured the level of antibodies that were active against the “spike” portion of the coronavirus protein. These “anti-spike” antibodies represent one of the types of antibodies produced after the COVID vaccine. The level of these antibodies in the blood is related to how well they protect us against future infections (people with higher levels tend to have lower risk of infection than those with lower qualifications).

In our analysis, we found a significant increase in antibody levels with each dose of vaccine. Participants who received the first booster shot had an average of 10 times higher antibody levels than those who received only two doses, with the second dose about six months earlier.

When we compared antibody levels between groups of people, we found that certain groups were identified as more vulnerable to COVID (such as those advised to “shield” or systematically). suppressed immunity) to a lesser extent after the first or second dose. This Proven in other research.

However, we found that this difference decreased after the first boost. Most of these vulnerable person produced a strong response to the enhancer, which was similar in size to the other study participants.

The exact reasons for this are still unknown. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to coronavirus, through vaccination or infection, improves the strength and breadth of the virus. immune response. So this might help explain why antibody level of the more vulnerable “take off” after strengthening. But we need more research to understand this effect.

Some limitations

We note that our study has certain limitations. Our sample size was limited for some groups, and our study participants were more likely to be women, older, and identified as Caucasian, compared with the UK population. English in general.

Geographically, TwinsUK participants are more likely to live in more affluent areas and in the south-east of England. Children of the 90s tracked children born in Bristol and surrounding areas and their parents, so the participants tended to live in the south-west of England.

Further work is needed to generalize our findings to racial groups in the United Kingdom, those who do not identify as white, and other international populations. We also note that the antibodies we measured are only part of a broader immune system, and that immune responses vary from person to person.

The importance of being strengthened

Our study provides further evidence that it’s a good idea to have booster vaccinations coming soon, especially when COVID is still ongoing. It also showed a significant benefit of the booster dose for people in the higher-risk group.

Following the rollout of the first and second doses in the first half of 2021 in the UK, the first booster vaccine has been made available. from September 2021followed by the second seasonal fall booster starting from September 2022 for certain groups.

But the use of booster shots was lower than with the first and second doses. While 88% of people in the UK aged 12 and over have had their first two doses, only 70% also had its first boost.

The first booster shot is for anyone 16 years of age or older, plus at-risk children 12 to 15 years of age. The fall booster shot is now open to all people over the age of 50 and some younger people at higher risk. However, The report indicates These boosters will be discontinued on February 12th, it is especially urgent for those who have not received boosters to continue.

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