Some people with COVID-19 think that they may not need a vaccine.Science is not so sure
As public health officials scramble to reach the remaining unvaccinated population in Canada, a potentially large group remains elusive: those who decide not to vaccinate because they have been infected with COVID-19 and have recovered.
The public health agency’s recommendations are clear: eligible individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should be vaccinated, because experts still don’t know the degree of protection provided by previous infections, especially against emerging virus variants.
According to the latest information on the Ottawa Public Health website, “People who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 should still be vaccinated.” “There is no information that antibodies from recent SARS-CoV-2 infection will interfere with the efficacy of the vaccine.”
I will wait until the vaccine is confirmed.-David Cohen
This echoes the current proposals of both parties Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention In the U.S
Dr. Kumanan Wilson, professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa and CEO of CanImmunize, an Ottawa technology company, said: “Although you will gain a certain degree of immunity from a previous infection, it is not clear how long and how wide this immunity will be. For immune software.
“Not sure if exposure to previous versions or variants of the virus will protect you from new variants as powerfully as a vaccine.”
‘Say no for now’
It is this uncertainty that prevented the 45-year-old David Cohen from accepting his jab.
“I didn’t totally refuse vaccination, I just refused it temporarily,” said Cohen, who lives in downtown Toronto with his wife and two children, 7 and 10 years old.
In October, after Cohen’s wife (as an immigration consultant) became infected in a federal detention facility, the whole family tested positive for COVID-19.
This spring, Cohen, who runs his own research and development tax credit company, underwent an antibody test, which he said showed that his body was full of antibodies, proteins produced by the human immune system in response to infections.
“The data I found shows that I don’t need a vaccine. If the data says it’s good and your antibodies are not enough, I’ll say it’s good, not enough, and I’m going to get the vaccine,” he said.
Cohen is not sure if he is immune to COVID-19-he just doesn’t believe that vaccination will make him more immune than natural infections.
“A licensed doctor is shooting from the hip, and that’s the problem: we simply don’t have enough data to prove either way,” he said.
Cohen was quick to point out that he is not against vaccinators-he said he and his family are immune to everything else.
But as the son of a nurse, he said he has been taught to wait until new treatments are confirmed.
“Vaccines are the best thing,” he said. “I will wait until the vaccine is confirmed.”
‘I am looking for the truth’
Carole Lutes, the mother of four school-age children in Ottawa, also decided to wait before letting her family get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Lutes believes that her entire family was infected with the virus in the first few days of the pandemic, but could not be tested. In March last year, her husband fell ill again and tested positive for COVID-19.
Like Cohen, Lutus is looking for stronger evidence that the advantages of vaccinating her family outweigh the disadvantages.
42-year-old Lutes said: “We will not rush, we will wait and see now. I am looking for the truth. I don’t want to make mistakes with my children, so I” I am really conservative and really hesitant. “
Lutes wants to prove that the natural immunity that her family has built requires artificial enhancement, and insists that her decision is based solely on evidence.
“I used to be called an anti-vaccine person, which made me very painful because it was not true. Unfortunately, we were caught in the same boat,” Lutes said.
Science catches up
Wilson frankly admitted that scientists have not yet got all the answers.
“In the whole process, we learned a lot about immunology,” he said. “What we have seen… is that the vaccine response seems to provide a broader antibody response than natural infection, which is more targeted at your specific exposure at the time.”
He pointed out that the evidence for vaccination comes from randomized controlled trials, while the evidence for natural immunity is based only on observational studies, “so there are more uncertainties.”
However, he said he can understand why people infected with COVID-19 may think they are immune.
“This is an understandable confusion for the public,” he said. “I think this does require some education. When you talk about broad and specific antibody responses, it’s very complicated.”
In fact, Wilson said, there is new evidence that those infected with COVID-19 can further improve their immunity through vaccination, and may actually have an advantage over uninfected people.
“Early data shows that if you have been infected and vaccinated before, you will get a particularly strong immune response,” he said.
As of Wednesday, Ottawa has 27,730 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Ottawa Department of Public Health said it is impossible to know how many people have not been vaccinated.