Feature Stories - July 18, 2021

No permanent immunity from Covid-19

KABUL (Pajhwok): Doctors and the Ministry of Public Health have rejected reports that contracting Covid-19 once and receiving a single vaccine dose prevent the infection for the rest of life.

Both health experts and MoPH say such claims have no scientific basis and the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet endorsed such assertions.

Claim:

Dr. Asad Jarafbeen Habibi, an Internist specialist in the Netherlands, said in a video clip that new research in the United States showed that a coronavirus infection and administration of a vaccine dose might stop a relapse into the disease for the rest of life.

He claimed those who had contracted the virus and received a single vaccine dose could generate “antibodies” for many years, even a lifetime, and would never be infected again.

The doctor added the process would not result for those who had not been infected by the virus and received the vaccine twice.

Referring to subsequent consequences of Covid-19, Dr. Habib said red and white blood cells changed due to the disease, which caused blood clots and even death.

However, about 2,000 Facebook users have liked this video. Nearly 2,000 more have shared it and around 1,000 individuals commented on it.

Iran’s IRNA news agency also published a report titled “the possibility of Covid antibodies remaining in the body for the rest of life”.

The news agency quoted Daily Mail as saying that a recent study indicated the people who contracted the virus (mild or asymptomatic) could develop antibodies that could protect them for a year or even a lifetime.

Fact checking:

Dr. Baz Mohammad Sherzad, former advisor to MoPH, told Pajhwok Afghan News WHO had not yet commented on permanent exemption after contracting the virus and receiving a dose of vaccine.

He recalled the Covid vaccine administration began in September 2020. But since then, no predictions have been made about the permanent exemption after contracting or receiving a vaccine dose. The claims have no scientific basis, he insisted.

He called the claims personal views of people, saying: “We have seen people contracting the virus again after receiving the vaccine.”

In the absence of standard evidence, WHO, the US Contagious Disease Center or other international organisations have not yet endorsed claims about a permanent exemption from the infection.

Dr. Hashmatullah Faizi, in charge of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Afghan-Japan Hospital, rejected such reports. He said a number of patients had tested positive in all three Covid waves despite receiving vaccines.

He called the contraction in three waves a change in the type of the virus and said the reason for infections might be the first, second and third different types.

It showed the exemption that a person got after the disease or getting the vaccine was neither permanent nor effective against all types.

However, the coronavirus changes its nature in each wave, which has been noticed in several previous waves.

Dr. Usman Taheri, deputy spokesman for MoPH, told Pajhwok there were people who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus more than once. But he did not provide figures.

Referring to the claims, he said: “Antibodies remain in the human body for six months or a year after receiving the vaccine.” But such claims have not been approved by WHO.

Research shows that antibodies are likely to remain in the body for at least six months after recovery from the disease.

The Covid vaccine has no side-effects. The vaccine is a way of teaching the immune system how to detect and eliminate an external factor.

Vaccines are usually administered by injection and most of them come in two parts: The first is the antigen or pathogen the body needs to learn to recognise, and the second is the vaccine, an adjunct that strengthens the body’s immune system.

Claim: After contracting the coronavirus and getting a dose of vaccine it prevents contraction of the disease for the rest of life.

Verdict: The above claims have no scientific basis and have not been endorsed yet by WHO.

sa/mud


“This Investigative Report was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Pajhwok and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.”

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