A common question that I get from the patients and acquaintances - is it necessary to vaccinate once you become infected? Yes, everyone needs a vaccine, whether they were infected or not. But why does everyone need to be vaccinated?
More than 200 companies in 171 countries are working on the COVID-19 vaccine, but now the news of three vaccines is on everyone's lips. These are the Oxford, Moderna and Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine, developed in joint research by Pfizer and BioNTech, is 95% effective, and the UK began administering the vaccine to its citizens two weeks ago. The Moderna vaccine has been approved in the USA.
When a germ enters the body, the body kills or tries to kill the germ by its defence system. This self-defence strategy of the body is called immunity. If the body cannot kill the germ with its defence system, then the germ is killed by applying medicine. For example, people take antibiotics to kill bacteria. Similarly, the virus is a germ, but no effective drug to kill the virus has yet been discovered. Even antibiotics do nothing against the virus.
When a virus enters the body, the body kills the virus with some chemicals in its blood. These are called antibodies. Once the antibody is made, it stays in the blood for a lifetime, and the next time if the same virus enters the body, the antibody kills it. A vaccine is an artificial way to make antibodies in the body before the virus enters the body.
After the coronavirus enters someone's body, the body makes antibodies in the blood to kill the virus in its normal way. Anyone can test for coronavirus antibodies four weeks after s/he was tested positive for COVID-19. Whether tested or not, once the virus enters the body, it must be understood that there are antibodies in the blood.
Studies have shown that the level and efficacy of antibodies in the body of many COVID-19 sufferers are quite weak. As a result, the antibody is effective for only a few weeks to a few months. After that, if the virus enters the body, there is a possibility of re-infection. As a result, many have relapsed after a few months.
How much the virus will affect you depends on the strength of the virus attack in the body and the effectiveness of the body's immune system. Antibodies may be weak in people whose signs and symptoms were weak or absent. But when strong antibodies are made in the body with the vaccine, the effectiveness of that antibody becomes much stronger and lasting longer.
Instead of the unnecessary, costly and flawed results of knowing the effectiveness of antibodies in the body after being infected with COVID-19, whether you are infected with COVID-19 or not – the vaccine will keep the body virus free for a long time.
The writer is a physician in the United Kingdom.