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DOH not recommending antibody test after COVID-19 vaccination

/ 06:34 PM June 02, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health does not recommend antibody testing to confirm the level of protection of an individual who had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement that “a negative antibody test does not mean that the COVID-19 vaccine did not work.”

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“We advise the public to consult their doctor before doing any diagnostic test because these should only be performed with professional guidance,” she added.

Vergeire also noted that even the United States’ Centers for Disease Control does not recommend antibody testing after vaccination.

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“We assure the public that all vaccines with EUA have undergone a rigorous regulatory process to ensure they are safe and effective against COVID-19. Moreover, even if they are fully vaccinated, they should still follow the MPHS (minimum public health standards),” she added.

In a House hearing, Health experts also noted that antibody testing may not be the best way to measure a person’s level of protection after getting vaccinated.

They said this in response to Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, who asked if neutralizing antibody tests can serve as the basis of status of a person’s immunity against coronavirus.

“In the studies that we’re going to conduct, as was mentioned earlier, the antibodies will be tested, but also other things like your cellular response, which is a little bit more technical in terms of looking at other parts of your immune system and see that response as well,” said Dr. Michelle De Vera of the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said that antibody tests “only the describes what we call the antibody-based immunity.”

“There is also what we call the cell based immunity, which is not actually covered by this test, and is covered by other cell based tests which are more complicated and sophisticated,” he explained.

JE

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