Prof: Antibody test may not be accurate gauge of vaccination

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

IPOH: A serology or antibody test may not be accurate enough to determine whether or not someone is fully vaccinated.

Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology president Prof Dr Baharudin Abdullah said it is still unclear whether or not such tests have any value in determining a person's immunity status post-vaccination.

"According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the Covid-19 vaccine induces antibodies differently from a natural infection.

"An individual infected with Covid-19 may be tested positive by the antibody test but the antibodies from a vaccinated person may not be detectable," he said when contacted on Sunday (July 25).

"Therefore, the current tests available are good to confirm an infected person but not a vaccinated individual," he added.

Allegations of empty syringes being used during vaccinations have sparked concerns among the public after several videos surfaced on social media.

Three incidents are being investigated by the police while disciplinary action has been taken in one case involving a drive-through vaccination centre in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Dr Baharudin said in the unfortunate event that an individual is not given the vaccine, the incident should be reported so that it may be properly investigated and confirmed.

He said if these cases are proven true, those affected should be given the vaccine properly.

"In the world of medicine, human error, albeit preventable, is the hardest to rectify.

"If proven true, ‘empty syringe’ incidents during vaccination could be an unfortunate misadventure," he said.

Dr Baharudin also said there should be training and a standard operating protocol before and after the vaccination procedure.

"This may minimise such incidents and prevent untoward major complications.

"The SOP for Covid-19 vaccination consists of at least two persons at every station to oversee the injection, with one person administering it and the other one preparing (the shot) and observing it being administered," he added.

"To instill confidence, the person giving the injection must show the syringe containing the vaccine to the recipient before and after the injection process.

"In addition, a feedback form could be used to report any irregularity during the vaccination process, as this will ensure that untoward incidents can be immediately identified and addressed," he said.

According to the website of a private medical laboratory and health screening service provider, it is advisable for the antibody test to be taken 14 days after the second dose.

The 14-day window would allow the peak reading of Covid-19 antibody levels in the body, it said.

The test is also not recommended to be taken 12 weeks after the second jab, as the antibody level reading may not be optimum.

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