By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As we’ve been reporting, the administering of the COVID vaccine is picking up speed as more people in our area are now eligible to get it.

With the accelerated rollout come many questions.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has the answers.

Our first question is from Susan, who asks: “What if you had COVID and didn’t know it and now you have antibodies? Should I still get the vaccine and is it safe?

If you had a mild or asymptomatic COVID case, then you will likely have developed antibodies to the coronavirus. That should protect you for a while, experts say. Don’t count on more than 90 days, though. So you don’t need a shot right away, but you still need one.

COVID VACCINE

The CDC says it is safe to get a vaccine if you have antibodies, so an antibody test, or a COVID virus test for that matter, isn’t needed before a vaccine.

However, if you have COVID symptoms, the CDC says wait until all your symptoms are gone before getting a shot.

Speaking of testing, Donna wants to know: “If I get vaccinated, will that make any of the COVID tests come back positive? And what does that mean for the new travel testing requirements?

The answer is that it depends on the test. An antibody test would likely come back positive within a couple of weeks after a vaccine. That’s partly how a vaccine works: It induces antibodies.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

But a nasal swab virus test, the most reliable, will not yield a false positive after a vaccine because the active ingredient on both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is a snippet of mRNA that is quickly taken up by cells in the body to make the spike protein of the coronavirus. Any leftover mRNA is rapidly broken down by the body.

In other words, a pre-travel COVID test should be a nasal swab, at least until other tests are proven to detect COVID infection without getting confused by vaccine immunity.

Do you have a COVID vaccine question for Dr. Max? Let us know!

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Dr. Max Gomez