NJ hospital testing effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines

This week Bergen Newbridge Medical Center became the first facility in New Jersey to offer immunity response testing for COVID-19 vaccines.  

The test looks for the IgG antibody or the antibody for the spike protein induced by the vaccine versus the antibody tests that were previously available which detect the body's natural immunity against the coronavirus.

According to the CDC, almost 6,000 vaccinated Americans out of the 66 million that received shots still became infected with COVID-19. The IgG test has been cleared for emergency use authorization and approved by the FDA.

According to the President and CEO of the hospital Deborah Visconi, the tests are available to everyone, but the IgG test requires a doctor's order and if someone doesn't have a provider a telemedicine service is available.

"It's incredibly important for those individuals who have had some reluctance or concerns about getting the vaccine and whether or not it would be effective against the virus," adds Visconi. "So it will help us be able to demonstrate that the vaccine is effective and it is protecting people with immunity."

Dr. Suraj Suggar, the Chief of Infectious diseases at Holy Name Medical Center cautions that while this test is available, doctors do not yet know how to interpret the data as a benchmark for immunization has yet to be established.

"I can't tell someone, well, if you're above this number--you're safe, you're protected. If you're number--you're not safe or you're not protected--and you need maybe a re-vaccination."   

It should also be noted that a negative test result does not rule out the possibility of an active case of the coronavirus. 

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