Two doses of vaccine against COVID 19 gives some protection for people who have received organ transplants but it is still not enough to enable them to dispense with COVID safety measures, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University.
In the latest study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers said that the study was a follow up study of an earlier one. In the first study, the researchers found that only 17 per cent of the participating organ recipients produced sufficient antibodies after one dose of a two dose COVID-19 vaccine.
ANTIBODY INCREASE BUT NOT ENOUGH
Lead author Brian Boyarsky said that organ recipients showed an increase of their antibody levels after the second dose. However, they maintained that this was far below to ward off infection than in people with healthy immune systems. He said that the transplant people should still follow safety precautions even after vaccination.
He said that the people who receive organ transplants like hearts, kidneys and lungs often must take drugs to suppress their immune systems and prevent rejection. This may interfere with a transplant recipient’s ability to make antibodies to foreign substances, including the protective ones produced in response to vaccines, he added.
The study evaluated immunogenic response after the second dose of either of the two vaccines – Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech — in 658 transplant recipients. They found that only 98 of the participants had detectable antibodies to Covid virus at 21 days after the first vaccine dose. This was comparable to the 17 per cent reported in the March study looking at immune response after only one vaccine dose. At 29 days following the second dose, the number of participants with detectable antibodies rose to 357 out of 658.
The study showed that young people had a good antibody response. Study co-author Dorry Segev pointed out that transplant recipients should not assume that two vaccine doses guarantee sufficient immunity against COVID 19 virus.