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COVID-19 Vaccine Immune Imprinting Confirmed

April 25, 2023 • 10:27 am CDT
by Markus Winkler
(Coronavirus Today)

Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH Ph.D., a well-known epidemiologist and data scientist, today announced, "We know imprinting is a thing with COVID-19. And, we should expect imprinting."

"The biggest influence of imprinting occurs after the first exposure to the virus through vaccine or infection. We still don't have good evidence that imprinting harms protection, though."

"We simply don't know the risks of stimulating the immune system with six shots in 2 years, too."

"There are always unknown risks, albeit small," wrote Dr. Jetelina on April 25. 2023.

Dr. Jetelina explained in April 2022 original antigenic sin (OAS) is a particular type of immune imprinting. In OAS, prior memory can interfere with and prevent people from generating antibodies against new variants. However, how this occurs is not well understood. 

But we know that OAS occurs with other viruses, like the flu.

For example, the first flu infection you get as a child has been shown to impact how you react to flu variants later in life.

These comments follow the World Health Organization's recent announcement that in vitro evidence shows that immune imprinting occurs with repeated exposure to the same antigen from COVID-19 vaccines.

Original antigenic sin is an attribute of immune memory that leads to greater induction of antibodies specific to the first-encountered variant of an immunogen compared with subsequent variants. 

The impact of innate and adaptive immunities related to COVID-19 vaccination's original antigenic sin continues to be explored in various studies in April 2023. 

Note: Dr. Jetelina publishes "Your Local Epidemiologist." She works at a nonpartisan health policy think tank and is a senior scientific consultant to several organizations, including the U.S. CDC.