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SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines are administered as effective prophylactic measures for reducing virus transmission rates and disease severity. To enhance the durability of post-vaccination immunity and combat SARS-CoV-2 variants, boosters have been administered to two-dose vaccinees. However, long-term humoral responses following booster vaccination are not well characterized. A 16-member cohort of healthy SARS-CoV-2 naïve participants were enrolled in this study during a three-dose BNT162b2 vaccine series. Serum samples were collected from vaccinees over 420 days and screened for antigen (Ag)-specific antibody titers, IgG subclass distribution, and neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses. Vaccine boosting restored peak Ag-specific titers with sustained α-RBD IgG and IgA antibody responses when measured at six months post-boost. RBD- and spike-specific IgG4 antibody levels were markedly elevated in three-dose but not two-dose immune sera. Although strong neutralization responses were detected in two- and three-dose vaccine sera, these rapidly decayed to pre-immune levels by four and six months, respectively. While boosters enhanced serum IgG Ab reactivity and nAb responses against variant strains, all variants tested showed resistance to two- and three-dose immune sera. Our data reflect the poor durability of vaccine-induced nAb responses which are a strong predictor of protection from symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. The induction of IgG4-switched humoral responses may permit extended viral persistence via the downregulation of Fc-mediated effector functions.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.