Local labs offering tests to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are working

ATLANTA — It has now been four weeks since COVID-19 vaccinations in Georgia opened to everyone 16 and older and many are now getting their second dose.

But how do you know the vaccine has taken effect? One local company says you can find out with a test.

Some health experts told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that the tests are not needed and end up being a waste of money.

Any Lab Test Now and their 10 locations around the metro will let you come in and “test my shot.”

Testing businesses have gone from testing for COVID-19 to testing for antibodies to know if you had the virus, to now testing to see if vaccinations are working.

“But many people just want to know is my body reacting well to this or not?” said Luis Alford, clinical product manager for Any Lab Test Now.

Alford said the company’s 200+ locations across the country provide antibody tests through a simple blood draw and you can get results in 4 to 5 days for around $129.

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“If you’ve never had the virus and you’ve gotten the vaccine and gone through the full series, which let your immune system build up numbers and get up to speed on building up those antibodies…then this test will let you know have you had a good response to that vaccine or not.”

But medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say post-vaccination testing is not recommended.

According to the CDC’s vaccine guidelines, antibody tests “have variable sensitivity, specificity, as well as positive and negative predictive values, and are not authorized for the assessment of immune response in vaccinated people.”

Meaning, someone who’s vaccinated and immune to the virus may still test negative for certain antibodies

and there’s no long-term test to know if you test positive for the antibodies. You’re still fully protected and in the clear.

Any Lab acknowledges the CDC recommends against it, but said the test is more for peace of mind than for medical certainty.

“Down the road, what those results mean or how they might be able to be used. is still to be determined. But we’ve seen a positive response to it. A lot of people are really happy seeing yeah, I got the vaccine and something going on with it and it wasn’t for nothing,” Alford said.

So far, the antibody tests are for those who got Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, because of the way they fight the infection.

They’re still waiting on test results for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but say the testing should work no matter what vaccine you received.