Experts advise against antibody tests post vaccination

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2) — Medical experts are discouraging the public from undergoing antibody tests after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

They said an individual's antibody count does not paint a full picture of the level of their immunity against the deadly virus.

There are apparently other factors to consider like cellular response, they added.

"The immune system is amazingly sophisticated so one measurement cannot totally measure the entire immune response," Dr. Michelle de Vera told a breifing of the House Committee on Health on Wednesday.

De Vera, who represents the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, leads the government's study on mixing brands of vaccines.

Dr. Regina Berba, head of infectious disease control at the University of the Philippines-PGH, said antibody levels do not completely correlate with the protection a vaccine provides.

"Our countrymen who will eventually have a negative test should not have a decline in their confidence in the vaccine," Berba said.

Lawmakers expressed concern over people unnecessarily testing for their antibodies after getting vaccinated.

"It's not only an unnecessary expense," Garin pointed out, "it's also sowing a lot of confusion. Even our vaccinators are testing themselves right and left and people are very wary: 'Ay, bakit kalahati lang sa amin ang nagpositibo? Bakit kalahati ng ospital personnel ay negatibo?'"

[Translation: How come only half of us ended up testing positive? How come half of hospital personnel turned out negative?]

Garin said the Health Department must issue a clear statement against this as it may cause more confusion on the effectivity of vaccines.

One of the problems in the country's pandemic response is vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos.