There have been some murmurs and qualms about why people should get boosted after completing the COVID-19 main series. A new study presents one good reason for getting that extra dose amid the ongoing pandemic.

In a new study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, researchers sought to evaluate the magnitude and durability of the antibody response after getting the vaccine booster. Aside from comparing the antibody levels after the primary series and the booster, they also explored the effects of age and prior infection in both scenarios.

For the study, the team obtained samples from 228 subjects between 7 and 150 days after receiving the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. They also collected samples from 117 subjects in the same time frame after getting booster doses.

Upon analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that the antibody levels from 7 to 31 days were similar in both scenarios. However, the antibody response after the booster was more durable over time, regardless of prior infection status.

“The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine boosters increase antibody durability, suggesting enhanced long-term clinical protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with the 2-shot regimen,” the team wrote in their study.

The new findings shed light on how the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA boosters offer a more durable antibody response in the face of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This means it would yield stronger and longer protection against the coronavirus infection, even for those who had previously battled the pathogen.

“These results fit with other recent reports and indicate that booster shots enhance the durability of vaccine-elicited antibodies,” senior researcher Jeffrey Wilson, MD, Ph.D., of UVA Health’s Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, told EurekAlert.

Initially, the team thought that they would be able to find higher antibody levels in those who had their boosters. However, what they found was even more beneficial for long-term protection against the disease.

“Our initial thought was that boosters would lead to higher antibody levels than the primary vaccine series, but that was not what we found. Instead, we found that the booster led to longer-lasting antibodies,” first author Samuel Ailsworth said.