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UVA study compares Pfizer and Moderna vaccines

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AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
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When you get sick or are vaccinated, you produce antibodies. Scientists like Jeffrey Wilson, a professor of allergy and immunology at UVA, say that’s one sign of protection against re-infection.

Jeffrey Wilson
UVA
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Dr. Jeffrey Wilson and colleagues at UVA compared vaccines and concluded the effects of Moderna last longer than Pfizer.

“There’s more to it than antibodies," he says, "but we do think that antibodies are probably a reasonable surrogate for an important part of the immune response.”

And in the study he and colleagues did beginning 2-3 weeks after subjects got their second vaccination, it was clear that the Pfizer shot produced a slower response that dissipated more quickly than in those who received the Moderna vaccine. Wilson is not surprised, since Moderna contains more of the substance believed to cause production of antibodies.

“The Moderna has got three times as much of the mRNA in it,” Wilson explains.

In older patients, Moderna was more effective at boosting antibody levels than Pfizer, and after six months Pfizer patients had lower levels than people who’d had a serious case of COVID or been vaccinated with Moderna.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.