Plan on getting an annual COVID-19 booster, at least for the foreseeable future

Tracking Coronavirus

This September 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the company. Johnson & Johnson is beginning a huge final study to try to prove if the single-dose vaccine can protect against the coronavirus. (Cheryl Gerber/Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson via AP)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Scheduling an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t end in 2021. The good news is that as supply increases, getting a vaccine is expected to be a lot easier.

The vaccination’s only been around since the end of July, so there isn’t a lot of information out yet about how long each dose will protect you.

Will it be like a flu vaccine and something we need to get every year? Doctors say the answer is likely yes, at least in the near future.

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System discussed the issue during a Facebook Live Tuesday morning. They say part of the reason we’ll likely need an annual booster shot is because of variants that are being found around the world.

“I think because of the variants that are isolated and identified and as we are able to develop those vaccines against those variants, I think that will enforce what we’ve talked about that we will probably need boosters of some sort,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at KU Heath System.

Experts and researchers are still learning a lot about the COVID-19 virus. They point out we only have information about the virus and the vaccine for less than a year. Studies continue to monitor trial participants to see how long they are protected against the virus. They hope it will determine when we will need boosters.

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