Adalumimab and Covid vaccines

I have RA, it's managed using adalumimab (Humira), I have had both my covid vaccinations (Astra Zeneca). I didn't have an reaction at all to either shot. I have since had an antibody test that was negative for Covid antibodies. My GP has said that "infection antibodies are not the same as vaccine antibodies" and I shouldn't be concerned.

I don't think my GP is correct in saying that the antibodies are different - but it may be that the test doesn't pick up "lower" levels of antibodies.

Is my GP mistaken about two different antibodies?

Should I be concerned about the negative antibody test?

How can I check whether or not I am protected?

Do I need another (different) vaccine?

Thanks

Comments

  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 128

    Welcome @Tmjcork to the online community, thank you for your enquiry about antibodies.

    I see that you have RA and that it is managed by adalumimab and that you have had two vaccinations. You are concerned that you may not be protected since you have had a negative Covid test.

    The antibodies tests may not reveal the whole picture since they only measure one specific component of the immune system when multiple parts play a role in fending off Covid 19. Not all tests look for the same types of antibodies and the type and quality of the test can affect the results you receive. The vaccinations you have had will be providing you with a high level of protection and you may feel that you want to take advantage of the booster vaccinations when they become available later in the year. This protection plus following all the NHS guidelines should allay your concerns.

    If you would like to speak to the Helpline they are available Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m. ( not 8.00p.m. as advertised)

    I hope that you will join us on the VA website again soon. As well as loads of information, the forums provide a wealth of support from members who are always willing to share their experiences both good and bad.

    We look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    Take care

    Poppyjane

  • Hi @Tmjcork 

    Thank you for posting on the helpline forum. I’m sorry you don’t feel reassured by your GP’s explanation and are still concerned about the negative antibody test results you have had since you received both of your AstraZeneca vaccinations.

    Thanks to Poppyjane for her response to your question. The uncertainty around the effectiveness of the vaccinations is particularly challenging for people with autoimmune conditions and those on immunosuppressant medications like adalimumab.

    The antibodies developed after vaccination are different to the ones the antibody test checks for to tell you if you’ve had the virus before. I’m guessing from the answer your GP gave, that the antibody test you have had was to test if you’ve had the virus before. You may find this link, which relates to this kind of test helpful:

    Based on the current available evidence, some people who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system may be given advice to continue avoiding exposure to COVID-19 after they have had the vaccination. This is because their medications could mean their immune system doesn't respond as strongly to the vaccine as people who don't take these drugs.

    It's important to remember that no vaccine offers 100% protection. Sometimes this is because the body doesn’t produce antibodies as well as expected in response to the vaccine and sometimes this is because, although the body produces antibodies as expected, the protective antibody level in the blood falls over time. That’s why everyone in the UK should follow government advice on reducing the spread of COVID-19, even after they have had the vaccine.

    The NHS hasn’t yet announced any arrangements for people to have booster vaccines, but scientists are learning more about whether this may be necessary for some groups of patients. Antibody research is currently taking place to the response to the COVID-19 vaccines in people whose immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and other infections. A UK study called the OCTAVE study is one such project and will help ensure that those more at risk from infection receive the best protection possible. We expect that some early results from the Octave study will be available over the next two to four months. You can read more about it here:

    You are very welcome to call us on our freephone helpline: 0800 5200 520 so you can talk things through with one of our helpline team. 

    I hope this is helpful.

    Best wishes

    Mags

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