Do the vaccines provide you with COVID, or make you check constructive for COVID? Does the vaccine have an effect on different assessments? Will we nonetheless must get COVID examined if we’ve signs, even after getting the shot? And can we nonetheless want COVID testing as soon as extra of the inhabitants will get vaccinated?
We take a look at the proof to reply 5 widespread questions concerning the influence of COVID vaccines on testing.
1. Will the vaccine give me COVID?
The quick reply is “no”. That’s as a result of the vaccines authorised to be used thus far in Australia and elsewhere don’t comprise dwell COVID virus.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine accommodates an artificially generated portion of viral mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid). This carries the precise genetic directions on your physique to make the coronavirus’s “spike protein”, in opposition to which your physique mounts a protecting immune response.
The AstraZeneca vaccine makes use of a distinct know-how. It packages viral DNA right into a viral vector “service” primarily based on a chimpanzee adenovirus. When that is delivered into your arm, the DNA prompts your physique to supply the spike protein, once more stimulating an immune response.
Any vaccine side-effects, resembling fever or feeling fatigued, are normally gentle and non permanent. These are indicators the vaccines are working to spice up your immune system, somewhat than indicators of COVID itself. These signs are additionally widespread after routine vaccines.
2. Will the COVID vaccine make me check constructive?
No, a COVID vaccine is not going to have an effect on the outcomes of a diagnostic COVID check.
The present gold-standard diagnostic check is referred to as nucleic acid PCR testing. This seems for the mRNA (genetic materials) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This can be a marker of present an infection.
That is the check the overwhelming majority of individuals have once they line up at a drive-through testing clinic, or attend a COVID clinic at their native hospital.
Sure, the Pfizer vaccine accommodates mRNA. However the mRNA it makes use of is barely a small a part of all the viral RNA. It additionally can not make copies of itself, which might be wanted for it to be in adequate amount to be detected. So it can’t be detected by a PCR check.
The AstraZeneca vaccine additionally solely accommodates a part of the DNA however is inserted in an adenovirus service that can’t replicate so can not provide you with an infection or a constructive PCR check.
3. How about antibody testing?
Whereas PCR testing is used to search for present an infection, antibody testing — also called serology testing — picks up previous infections.
Laboratories look to see in case your immune system has raised antibodies in opposition to the coronavirus, an indication your physique has been uncovered to it. Because it takes time for antibodies to develop, testing constructive with an antibody check could point out you have been contaminated weeks or months in the past.
However your physique additionally produces antibodies as a response to vaccination. That’s the best way it could possibly recognise SARS-CoV-2, the subsequent time it meets it, to guard you from extreme COVID.
In order COVID vaccines are rolled out, and folks develop a vaccine-induced antibody response, it might turn out to be tough to distinguish between somebody who has had COVID previously and somebody who was vaccinated a month in the past. However it will rely upon the serology check used.
The excellent news is that antibody testing isn’t almost as widespread as PCR testing. And it’s solely ordered underneath restricted and uncommon circumstances.
As an illustration, when somebody assessments constructive with PCR, however they’re a false constructive because of the traits of the check, or have fragments of virus lingering within the respiratory tract from an previous an infection, public well being specialists would possibly request an antibody check to see whether or not that particular person was contaminated previously. They could additionally order an antibody check throughout contact tracing of circumstances with an unknown supply of an infection.
4. If I get vaccinated, do I nonetheless want a COVID check if I’ve signs?
Sure, we’ll proceed to check for COVID so long as the virus is circulating anyplace on this planet.
Despite the fact that the COVID vaccines are wanting promising in stopping individuals from getting significantly sick or dying, they gained’t present 100% safety.
Actual-world knowledge suggests some vaccinated individuals can nonetheless catch the virus, however they normally solely get gentle illness. We’re uncertain whether or not vaccinated individuals will be capable of doubtlessly move it to others, even when they don’t have any signs. So it’s essential individuals proceed to get examined.
Moreover, not everybody will likely be eligible to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. As an illustration, in Australia, present tips exclude individuals underneath 16 years of age, and people who are allergic to elements within the vaccine. And though pregnant girls aren’t dominated out from receiving the vaccine, it’s not routinely really useful. This implies a proportion of the inhabitants will stay vulnerable to catching the virus.
We are also uncertain about how efficient vaccines will likely be in opposition to rising SARS-CoV-2 variants. So we’ll proceed to check to make sure individuals are not contaminated with these strains.
We all know testing, detecting new circumstances early and speak to tracing are the core parts of the general public well being response to COVID, and can proceed to be a precedence from a public well being perspective.
Minimal numbers of each day COVID assessments are additionally wanted so we may be assured the virus isn’t circulating in the neighborhood. For example, New South Wales goals for 8,000 or extra assessments a day to take care of this peace of thoughts.
Continued vigilance and excessive charges of testing for COVID can even be essential as we enter the flu season. That’s as a result of the one approach to differentiate between COVID and influenza (or some other respiratory an infection) is through testing.
5. Will testing for COVID cease as time goes on?
It’s unlikely our method to COVID testing will change within the rapid future. Nevertheless, as COVID vaccines are rolled out and since COVID is more likely to turn out to be endemic and stick with us for a very long time, the acute response part to the pandemic will finish.
So COVID testing could turn out to be a part of managing different infectious ailments and a part of how we reply to different ongoing well being priorities.