Good Question: Can I check for antibodies after getting the vaccine?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Here’s a Good Question– about getting tests– and the vaccine.
This is something people have thought about after getting vaccinated– maybe you’re one of them: Should I get my antibodies checked?
Maybe cause you still have some questions about vaccines or you’re just curious. But the short answer is no. Why not?
News10NBC Brennan Somers spoke to Dr. Emil Lesho from Rochester Regional Health.
"There’s no standardization across the antibody tests you don’t know what test you’re gonna get," Lesho said.
Lesho told Somers because there’s no universal antibody test– some look for antibodies that are different than what vaccines give you, so you’d be wasting your time. The results may not tell you a lot, if anything.
"You might be getting a test that has the spike protein, and that’s the meaningful one, but might just be getting an overall antibody study," Lesho said.
Early on in the pandemic—state officials put a huge focus on antibody testing, but that all started to fade. Questions over reliability, what does a result truly mean for someone? How would you even begin to identify when or where a patient with antibodies got COVID in the first place?
Just days ago– the Food and Drug Administration put out a statement stressing while antibody tests could tell you if you’ve had the virus, don’t use them to try to gauge how strong your immunity and protection is, especially after getting a vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree with that.
But what about antibody testing in more formal settings? With the right technology? Lesho says that’s something they do.
"We have a test here at [Rochester General Hospital] that we use on a research basis that looks at both antibodies called the N protein or S or spike protein that enables us to differentiate between if you have immunity or antibodies from a natural infection," Lesho said. "You’re gonna have more N versus if you have immunity from one of the vaccines you’ll have more S in that situation."
As a good rule and answer for everyday people, pass on the antibody test. Again, this is why we have trials.. study after study, and the rigorous approval process to get vaccines out.
While none are 100% effective, the data shows what we have now is pretty close.
Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email GoodQuestion@whec.com.