Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, life is beginning to look a little more like it did pre-pandemic and people are out and about as many states start opening back up. Some people are uncertain about the effectiveness of the vaccine or its ability to protect against different variants and have considered antibody tests as a way to check the effectiveness of their vaccine. Public health officials are urging fully vaccinated people not to get antibody tests though, as they have limitations.

Antibody tests are a great way to understand if someone has been previously infected with coronavirus and didn’t know at the time. If you are fully vaccinated though, antibody tests are not useful in checking your body’s immune response and can actually lead to misinterpreted antibody test results.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that misinterpreting antibody test results could lead people to unnecessary worry or to take fewer precautions than needed. This is especially true for people who have a compromised immune system, either from conditions that direct the immune system directly, or people taking drugs to suppress their immune systems – including transplant patients. Further study is needed to understand how effective the vaccine is in these populations, but experts again that they should still get the vaccine, take precautions like wearing face masks, and practicing social distancing.

For more information on antibody test, read the full PBS News Hour story online: