“The research in question looks at only one measure of immune response – the antibodies produced,” says Dr D’Sa. “There are other factors that play a part in immune response, like T cells, but these are far more difficult to measure and so we don’t yet have the data to comment on.”
This means that even if the body hasn’t produced any antibodies as a result of the vaccination, you could still be afforded some protection. Only future research can tell us whether the spacing between the doses will have an overall impact on effectiveness.
There are also many other factors that could affect an individual’s response, that haven’t been measured yet – for example whether they have had previous treatment, their lifestyle, and when they had the first dose of the vaccine. These are all answers that we hopefully will have, but understandably the research takes time.
In short, we simply do not have the data on their overall effectiveness to say closing the space between vaccines will provide greater protection.
“The advice I am giving my patients is that they should still be cautious regardless of their antibody result, and the spacing between their vaccinations,” says Dr El-Sharkawi.
As always, the best way to keep you and your loved ones from becoming ill is to avoid unnecessary contact with others, wash your hands, meet outdoors and follow government guidance.
Still have questions? Dr El-Sharkawi will be holding a live webinar on 17 May all about COVID-19 and the vaccination. Register and submit your questions here.