People with Covid antibodies can get one shot of vaccine

Coronavirus antibody testing.
Coronavirus antibody testing. Source: EBU/ERR

Even though a Covid antibodies test result is not enough to get a coronavirus certificate in Estonia, people who can produce it are treated as having recovered from the disease and the National Immunoprophylactic Expert Committee recommends giving them a single vaccine shot.

This week's coronavirus infection survey results reveal that over two-thirds of adults in Estonia have Covid antibodies. Most have acquired them through vaccination, while there are plenty of people who have the antibodies but are not vaccinated or aware of having had the virus, "Aktuaalne kaamera," reported on Saturday.

"There are several questionable aspects when it comes to antibody tests. There are a lot of different tests on the market. All have different reference values and are not equally credible, while there is no international measure of how many antibodies provides sufficient protection from the virus," said Kärt Sõber, adviser at the public health department of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Even though a positive antibodies test result is not enough for a coronavirus certificate in the EU, it is equated to a positive PCR test result in Estonia.

"Looking at it from the point of view of immunology, people who test positive for antibodies have been in contact with the virus in which case a single dose of vaccine is enough," Marje Oona, family doctor and member of the expert committee, said.

Kärt Sõber explained that a person's digital medical records will then show that they have received a single dose and completed their immunization cycle.

Estonia has mulled officially accepting antibody test results but a domestic exception has not been deemed sensible due to common EU vaccination certificate requirements.

"Accepting positive antibody test results has been discussed, while agencies and experts believe there is not enough scientific data to support it," Sõber said.

Should the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control issue a corresponding recommendation as more data is collected, the European digital certificates regulation will likely also be amended, Sõber suggested.

The West Tallinn Central Hospital (LTKH) has been recognizing antibody test results and giving people who produce one a single dose of vaccine since late July. There have been a few dozen such cases so far. The hospital's spokesperson Liisa Matteus said there have been people who have asked for two doses of vaccine despite having antibodies as several countries require people who have recovered from the virus to be immunized with two shots if that is what the manufacturer has prescribed.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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