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Pfizer Covid jab: Does no side effect mean a weaker immune response?

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A new study has tried to find out whether the opposite is true: a lack of side effects is equivalent to a weaker immune response.

To do their findings, the researchers examined 206 staff members of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for antibodies to the coronavirus before and after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Antibodies are proteins produced within the body’s immune response to infection.

Volunteers were all healthy, not having a weakened immune system, and were not infected with COVID-19 at the time of registration.

The team also had volunteers complete a questionnaire about their vaccine-induced side effects after each dose, measuring 12 symptoms’ duration and severity on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 4 (a lot).

They then performed antibody tests 37 days on average after their second jab.

When comparing participants’ antibody findings to their symptom scores, the authors highlighted.

We found no correlation between vaccine-associated symptom severity scores and vaccine-induced antibody titers one month after vaccination.

They further added that the duration of side effects after the first and second Pfizer shots also “revealed no association” with antibody response.

[A] lack of correlation was observed even when adjusting for age, weight, and sex

They concluded by saying:

Ultimately, the researchers concluded that a “lack of post-vaccination symptoms following receipt of the BNT162b2 [Pfizer] vaccine does not equate to lack of vaccine-induced antibodies one month after vaccination.

The finding has two key implications, the researchers noted.

First, individuals that exhibit few symptoms after vaccination can be reassured that this does not mean the vaccine ‘didn’t work.’ Indeed, in this cohort individuals with few to no symptoms were just as likely to have developed strong antibody responses as individuals that exhibited substantial symptoms.

Second, the immunological pathways responsible for mRNA vaccine-induced [side effects] may not be required for development of robust antibody responses.

The research was published medRxiv on July 2 and is yet to be peer-reviewed.

Image Credit: Getty

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