India’s healthcare system is overwhelmed with more than 200,000 cases and about 1,300 deaths being reported daily. With such data, the country has expanded its vaccination programme to include all adults above the age of 18 from May 1 amid the deadly second wave of infections. But remember the time, when the news of vaccine availability made the headlines? Many public health experts were worried about the fact that many people wouldn’t want to be first in line to get vaccinated. But the scenes of the vaccination sites are were just the opposite and even today people who till now haven’t received the COVID vaccine are desperately waiting for their turn to receive their jab.

However, people have now become more serious about their vaccine shots, but there are quite a few reports about people getting infected with COVID-19 even after getting vaccinated. Such breakthrough cases bring us to a simple question: Can we get COVID positive even after getting vaccinated? And if yes, then what’s the benefit of getting both the shots of the vaccine? Apart from these queries, there also lies a third query that whether a person who has already been infected with the virus before getting the vaccine and recovered, is it still important for them to get vaccinated?

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the vaccine is clearly not responsible for a positive test result for PCR or antigen test because these tests usually check for active disease in an individual and not whether the individual is immune or not. Therefore, a person may test positive for COVID for the reason that vaccine triggers an immune response and the antibody test may occur positive.

Can you get COVID positive even after receiving the vaccine?

It’s important to remember the fact that the vaccine is not a guarantee for lifelong immunity against the disease. Experts suggest that a few people may still contract with the virus even after receiving their final vaccine dose, but this does not mean that the vaccine is ineffective. In such breakthrough cases, experts believe that the person remains protected from severe conditions of the disease and death. In fact, some even believe that getting vaccinated most of the time can offer 100 percent protection against hospitalisation and death, but not against the infection.

It should be noted that a person even after getting vaccinated needs to take precautions like hygiene, sanitisation and social distancing. Health experts suggest that people should take the virus seriously and should not drop down their precautions to the ground as in case of coronavirus, the window period is about two weeks after getting the second dose of the vaccine. Also, precautions should be followed as the vaccines available do not cover all strains of the virus.

What happens when you contracted COVID after first vaccine shot?

In case, if a person gets COVID between the two doses of the vaccine, the person still requires to receive their second dose but only after the antibody levels in an infected individual’s body recover from COVID-19. It certainly takes time for your immune system to start to build up a response, and experts still aren’t entirely clear about how much protection a person has after just one vaccine shot. 

Researchers have basically come to a point that receiving vaccine cannot be 100 percent effective in every person’s body because different bodies can react differently, but it is believed that even one shot of the vaccine can be pretty helpful in terms of preventing hospitalisation and death.

Survived COVID? Do you still need vaccine?

In a recent research from the Penn Institute of Immunology, it has been found that people who have recovered from COVID-19 had a robust antibody response after the first vaccine dose, and have only a little immune benefit after the second dose. With this conclusion, the research suggests that only a single vaccine dose may be beneficial in order to produce a sufficient antibody response in the body of an individual who has already recovered from COVID-19.

By Mahima Joshi

Mahima Joshi is a writer at The Wonk. She is a postgraduate in Journalism, who is just curious about everything that is happening around. She is an enthusiastic reader especially concerning gender dynamics in mythological stories.

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