A study undertaken by the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra has concluded that antibodies in people vaccinated against Covid-19 fall dramatically within a few months “pointing to the necessity for a third dose of vaccine against Covid-19”.
This information is reproduced by various media sources today when only three months ago it was explained WHY antibodies can be seen to reduce weeks after vaccination – and why this should never be viewed as a problem (click here).
In other words, this story is looking more like a push for the 3rd vaccine ‘no matter what’ – days after reports went out suggesting authorities here saw no need for this.
Even the World Health Organisation has appealed to countries to ‘hold back’ on decisions for 3rd (booster) inoculations to allow more of the poorer nations to ‘catch up’ and vaccinate their own citizens.
But SIC noticias today is charging forwards with the conclusions of this study, saying: “investigators propose that a third dose should be administered in stages.
“In first place will be cases of risk, then those who were vaccinated more than six months ago and finally the whole population, independent of age.
“This is the strategy proposed to control outbreaks and avoid the evolution of more aggressive variants of the virus”.
The news comes as immunologist Manuel Santos Rosa has been on air, on the same station, reemphasising that vaccinated people can still contract and transmit the virus (click here).
On this basis, the question has to be asked ‘why would a third dose be needed’ – unless perhaps it was of a different (tweaked) vaccine that did not leave subjects open to reinfection or transmission?
If it was simply a case of revaccinating with exactly the same vaccine as before, then surely a few months down the line antibodies would simply fall again, and then experts would sound the alert for the need of a fourth dose?
Diário de Notícias explains the context of this study: the idea for it came in December 2020 when the pathology department of Coimbra’s university hospital (CHUC) started to prepare the Covid vaccination plan for its roughly 4,000 professionals and “realised that information should be gathered” to monitor response to the vaccine “and how long people remained immune to the virus”.
“Eight months on, complete results for half the population that adhered to the study” are ready – and according to Lucília Araújo, the doctor coordinating the research, this shows that ‘sooner or later a third dose will be necessary’ as antibodies detected at the end of six months post-vaccination “may no longer be protective”.
Antibodies didn’t fall across different age-groups in quite the same way: “the youngest test subjects showed “more elevated quantities while in the more elderly response decreased”.
Another important detail verified was that the decrease in immunity was reduced in people who had contracted Covid-19 (this ties in with data that came out in May, reported in Expresso that natural infection leaves people better infected than if they take the vaccine click here. This text, strangely seems to have disappeared since from Expresso’s site).
Response to the vaccine was also seen to differ between the sexes: men for example registered less antibodies than women over the time period.
“The specialists warn however that the production of antibodies is just one of the battlefronts against the disease. But in spite of other defence mechanisms existing against Covid-19, the reduction of antibodies registered leaves those who conducted the study pointing to the necessity of a third dose of vaccine”, repeats SIC.
And this is where the message ‘jars’. The New York Times reported last November: “many immunologists have noted that it is natural for antibody levels to drop” as these are “just one arm of the immune system”.
The conundrum perhaps is will people’s immune systems work post vaccination in the same way as they would work if they had contracted Covid-19 (or been infected with SARS-CoV-2) naturally?
That perhaps is the study that we have not yet heard the results about.