Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are still new and there is still much we do not know about their 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 their 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.

NJ's most and least COVID vaccinated towns, by county

New Jersey reported just short of 4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 statewide, heading into the last week of May. So how does that break down across all 21 counties?

And, how can some communities show a vaccination rate of more than 100%, according to state data? Reasons include people who have moved, those who are traveling and not residing at home where the census counted them, students who may select their school residence for vaccination data and people in long-term care (or other facility-based housing) among other reasons, as explained in a footnote on the state COVID dashboard.

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