Do COVID-19 Survivors Only Need 1 mRNA Vaccine Dose?

COVID vaccine

One approach to creating more available COVID-19 vaccines is being discussed by some health experts, but could it also lead to more issues?

In USA Today, medical professors Anthony Harris, Florian Krammer, Mohammad Sajadi, Viviana Simon share their opinion that if someone has already had COVID that they should only get 1 dose of the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) in order to "speed the rate of immunization by allowing others to get these additional doses."

They contend that if you have already battled the virus you can achieve the same level of immune response with only one dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. They point to numerous studies which claim "previously infected COVID-19 patients mount an antibody response to a single dose that is equal to or exceeds two doses in those not previously infected." It should be noted these studies were not randomized trials.

The authors go on to claim, "These studies conducted by multiple research groups on different continents provide strong evidence that a single dose of mRNA vaccine may be enough. This is due to the presence of immunological memory and is the reason why most booster vaccines are given as single doses only, while a primary vaccination series can be one or more doses — like the measles mumps rubella (MMR) shots given to infants."

This approach is reportedly being used in Italy, Germany, and France. Additionally, Canada has extended the time following a COVID infection when someone qualifies for the vaccine to 4 months, in order to create more supply. Currently, in the US, it is suggested you wait until 3 months after recovering from COVID to get vaccinated. They contend this approach if used worldwide, would allow for more than 110 million extra doses of the vaccine.

Critics of this theory say it would be difficult to implement if an antibody test was needed to determine who would only need 1 dose, but the authors argue that patients could self-report if they have previously batted the virus and had it confirmed via test results. Another possible issue with this one-dose theory is the lack of randomized clinical trials, which are needed to truly determine if this vaccination approach is the best choice.

The Doctors stress the CDC currently says anyone getting the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine needs both doses, regardless of whether you previously had COVID or not.

More: Should You Take Pain Relief Medications after Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

More: Do COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Indicate How You Might React to the Virus?

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