Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are still new and there is still much we do not know about thier long-term effectiveness. However, a new study suggests at least two of the available vaccines could provide effective protection for years.

Writing in the journal 'Nature,' scientists who studied the body's immune response triggered by MRNA vaccines say early research indicates the drugs have a long lasting effect. The MRNA vaccine not only teaches the body's infection fighting cells how to battle coronavirus in the short-term (6-12 months), but also trains the body's lymph nodes to produce longer-lived COVID fighters.

Many medical experts had predicted annual boosters would be needed, and some still might. The caveat is in the mutations. While the current vaccines have shows to be at least 97% effective in protecting against the known variants, including the rising Delta strain, study authors say new mutations could impact how long the vaccine is effective. As long as the mutations don't vary greatly from the current known strains, the body's immune response will remain strong.

Despite the encouraging news about the MRNA vaccines, doctors might still recommend some of thier patients get a booster. That includes those with weakened immune systems and older Americans.

The study only looked at the MRNA vaccines, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, and not the single-dose vaccine made by New Brunswick based Johnson and Johnson.

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