It is thought that mRNA-based vaccine-induced immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) wanes quickly, based mostly on short-term studies. Here, we analyzed the kinetics and durability of the humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination using >8,000 longitudinal samples collected over a 3-year period in New York City. Upon primary immunization, participants with pre-existing immunity mounted higher antibody responses faster and achieved higher steady-state antibody titers than naive individuals. Antibody kinetics were characterized by two phases: an initial rapid decay, followed by a stabilization phase with very slow decay. Booster vaccination equalized the differences in antibody concentration between participants with and without hybrid immunity, but the peak antibody titers decreased with each successive antigen exposure. Breakthrough infections increased antibodies to similar titers as an additional vaccine dose in naive individuals. Our study provides strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses are long lasting, with initial waning followed by stabilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-599.e4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2024


  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • SARS-CoV-2 immunity
  • SARS-CoV-2 variants
  • antibodies
  • breakthrough infections
  • durability
  • hybrid immunity
  • longitudinal study
  • modeling antibody kinetics
  • reactogenicity


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