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COVID Survivors May Only Need One Dose Of Vaccine, Studies Say

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – People who have been infected with COVID-19 may need just one dose of the vaccine, according to two new studies.

The studies have not been peer-reviewed, but the medical research aims to answer the question: Should those who have had COVID-19 should get one or two doses of the vaccine?

The first study included 59 health care workers, 42 of whom previously had COVID-19, according to the New York Times. It found that those who had been infected before had high antibody levels after receiving the first dose of the vaccines.

The levels were comparable to those who had never been infected but had received both doses of the vaccine. The study preliminarily suggests that “a single dose of vaccine for patients already having had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19; and patients who have had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 can be placed lower on the vaccination priority list.”

“I think it’s interesting and it’s not unexpected that people would have more robust responses to the vaccine if they’ve seen the virus before,” said Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, who wasn’t a part of either study but specializes in infectious diseases at University of Utah Health. “In essence, it really then is kind of like a second dose.”

But Swaminathan cautioned against jumping to limit the number of doses given to people.

He said it’s still too early to tell whether it means COVID-19 survivors shouldn’t receive a second dose, pointing out the studies so far only include a small number of people.

He also said many variables could be at play, including how much time has passed since infection and how severe the symptoms were.

“The thing to remember though is I think we’re overthinking some of this. We have hundreds of millions of people in this country that need to be vaccinated. That’s the number one priority to get every vaccinated as much as possible,” Swaminathan said. “Driving down this rabbit hole of can you get away with one vaccine if you’ve had it before I think unnecessarily complicates the picture.”

Another study of 231 people also found that those who had been infected before had high antibody levels suggesting a second dose may not be necessary. That study also found that those who have had the virus reported side effects more often than those who have not been infected.

Swaminathan said more data is needed.

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