Birx: COVID vaccine test subjects are being monitored to determine how long immunity lasts

The durability of the immune response is not yet known.

Updated: October 1, 2020 - 7:00pm

White House coronavirus task force adviser Deborah Birx on Thursday said that public health officials are closely monitoring test subjects during experimental COVID-19 vaccine trials to determine for how long the immune response to a successful vaccine actually lasts. 

Speaking to David Brody, the host of the Just the News television program "The Water Cooler," Birx said that the earliest subjects in the vaccine trials will help scientists understand "how durable and for how long that immune response lasts." 

Some vaccinations in the U.S. are given only to adults rarely if at all due to the durability of the vaccine itself coupled with the low risk of contracting certain diseases in the United States. 

Other vaccines, such as tetanus, are meant to be re-administered on a regular schedule. It is suggested that adults receive a tetanus shot every 10 years, for example. 

Birx indicated that it is not yet known how often individuals will have to be injected with a COVID-19 vaccine to ensure they are immune from the virus. 

"We'll be able to measure that over time," she told Brody. "Those original vaccine groups will be studied over time" to determine how long immunogenicity lasts, she said. 

Birx noted that first responders and vulnerable demographics, such as the elderly, will be prioritized to receive the first round of vaccines.

"We know who's at incredible risk," she said. "So getting vaccines to them as soon as we show safety and efficacy ... is a commitment the federal government and the people of America ought to make to those individuals."