People who already have contracted COVID-19 may not require the recommended two doses of the vaccine according to a new study. Researchers found that one dose boosts immunity for those who have had the disease to the same level as if they received both doses.
According to The Hill, Florian Krammer, a professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who led the study, said that this would spare any pain or discomfort from the second shot and free up more vaccine for others. He and his colleagues found that coronavirus survivors had remarkably high levels of antibodies after receiving both vaccine doses.
They also found that those who previously were infected by the virus had more severe side effects after the first dose, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, chills, and muscle and joint pain, according to The New York Times. That is not surprising, say experts, who say the immune systems of those who have had COVID-19 are already primed for attack when they recognize the genetic code of the virus. When that bit of genetic material from the vaccine is injected into the body, the immune system responds, causing people to feel sick.
“I think one dose should be sufficient,” said Krammer, based on the results of his study.
However, the study was scrutinized by other scientists who questioned whether having more antibodies actually stops the replication of the virus.
“Just because an antibody binds to a virus does not mean it’s going to protect you from being infected,” said E. John Wherry, Ph.D., the director of the Institute of Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, according to The Hill.
Top officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration caution that people should adhere to the recommended two doses to achieve full protection and not make any changes to the dosing schedule. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Peter Marks, of the FDA’s vaccine division, said in a statement:
“Without appropriate data supporting such changes in the vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19.”
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