There have been quite a few reports lately about people testing COVID-19 positive even after vaccination.
In March, Punjab reported eight such cases where one tested positive after the first dose of the vaccine. A Gujarat health official tested positive for the virus even after the second dose of the vaccine. Similar incidents were recorded in Pune, where two doctors tested positive even after the second dose.
Can you test positive after the COVID vaccine?
World Health Organization (WHO) mentions on its website that the vaccine would not cause a positive test result for PCR or antigen test. “This is because the tests check for active disease and not whether an individual is immune or not,” it states.
In the case of an antibody test, however, it may be possible to test positive. The serology test measures a person’s COVID-19 immunity. Since the vaccine prompts an immune response, so some antibody tests might show the result as positive, mentions the international public health agency.
Can you get infected after getting COVID vaccine?
Medical experts have termed such instances “breakthrough cases” whereby a fully vaccinated person gets the disease they are vaccinated for.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is currently researching the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, says there are multiple factors that affect how a vaccine works “in real-world conditions”. These include:
*Host factors such as people not included in clinical trials who may respond differently to the vaccine
*Virus factors such as variants
*Programmatic factors such as following dosing schedules or storing and handling vaccines properly
Besides, no vaccine in the world has been deemed disease-proof, Dr Rajesh Gupta, additional director, pulmonology and critical care, Fortis Hospital Noida, tells indianexpress.com.
He says, “Immunity kicking in depends on a number of things. Remember that no vaccine allows for 100 percent immunity. There is something called the window period which is the time between when the vaccine is given and when it comes into effect and immunity kicks in. During the window period, you might get infected.”
In the case of coronavirus, the window period is about two weeks after getting the second dose of the vaccine, said the doctor. “What you also need to remember is that all vaccines do not cover all the strains and the new strains may keep appearing. Therefore there might be a small percentage of people who get infected but they will have the mild or moderate form of the disease.”
Dr Gupta also cautioned that people should not stop taking precautions even after being vaccinated. “The virus is affecting those people who think that just because they have been vaccinated they do not need to follow COVID precautions like hand hygiene, sanitisation and social distancing. So it is important that this is still followed even after getting vaccinated.”