Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Vaccines May Do More Harm Than Good To Those Recovered From Covid-19: Experts

Experts argue that when the current evidence shows that people recovered naturally from Covid-19 are well-protected from future infection or severity of the disease, there is no point including them in the current vaccination drive.

Covid-19 vaccine might be harmful for those who have naturally recovered from Covid-19 PTI/File Photo

A section of infectious disease experts in India believes that vaccines have no benefits to such individuals who have naturally recovered from Covid-19. Instead, it might cause some harm to them and lead to Serious Adverse Event Following Immunization (SAEFI).
Deaths, blood clotting or other health complications have been reported due to SAEFI from across the world and health experts say that it has nothing to do with any deficiency in the safety aspects of approved Covid-19 vaccines.
“Even a good vaccine can cause health complications due to adverse side effects as each human body responds to inoculation differently. But when you have to protect a larger population, this is the price one has to pay,” an epidemiologist associated with the government said requesting not to be named.  

He added, “This is true with all vaccines and vaccination programmes ever introduced in human history.”
Experts argue that when the current evidence shows that people recovered naturally from Covid-19 are well-protected from future infection or severity of the disease, there is no point including them in the current vaccination drive and risking their lives even if the risk is minuscule.
Dr Sanjay Rai, Professor, Community Medicine in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, says that all available evidence demonstrates that the natural infection provides better and longer protection that may even be lifelong.

”There is no need to vaccinate individuals who had documented COVID-19 infection in the past.  These individuals may be vaccinated after generating evidence that vaccine is beneficial after natural infection,” Dr Rai said.
He added,” Based on the available shreds of evidence, we can say that there is no additional benefit of vaccination in COVID recovered individuals.  Actually, it may cause harm due to few known and unknown severe adverse events following immunization.”
Dr Rai also believes that vaccines are precious resources that should be used to save other vulnerable persons’ lives rather than wasting them on well-protected individuals.
Noted epidemiologist Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, who is a core member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), agrees that vaccinating a confirmed Covid-19 recovered person doesn’t have any additional benefit “but there is some small chance of adverse reaction.”
Health experts say that there are two ways to find out if a person is a confirmed Covid-19 recovered case. First, those people who developed symptoms after contracting the virus and got it confirmed through the RT-PCR test.
“A reliable test of antibody can be another way to establish if a person is a confirmed Covid-19 recovered case,” Dr Muliyil said.    
He added, “At present, the available evidence suggests that natural infection is superior to vaccination. So in retrospect, it is a good and convenient way to say who needs vaccination and who doesn’t.”
As the current vaccination drive in India doesn’t have any provision to exclude naturally-recovered persons, a lot of such people say that they have to get vaccinated even if they didn’t want because they were under pressure from their employers.
Some of them have to go abroad and many countries have made vaccination a pre-requisite condition for issuing a visa as they still believe that vaccinated individuals don’t spread infection. This is contrary to the growing evidence that a vaccinated person can be a spreader of infection.
Outlook has earlier highlighted how health experts had suggested the introduction of a “Natural Certificate” for those travellers who are unvaccinated but have recovered from Covid-19.
European nations have reportedly introduced a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ for safe and free movement during the pandemic within the EU. The certificate is issued to the three categories of people (a) a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, (b) has received a negative test result or (c) has recovered from Covid-19.
“There is a wrong notion among many doctors that natural immunity is transient. It is because, during the initial days of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation had made this baseless statement which many doctors still believe to be true,” a senior government doctor said.
Some studies like the one done by Gyaneshwar Chaubey, a professor of genetics at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and another by the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, showed that one dose of vaccine to Covid-19 recovered people produced more robust and faster antibodies as compared to non-infected people.
Both the studies have suggested a single dose for the Covid-19 recovered population but now scientists have concluded that the more robust and faster antibodies confirm that the memory cell formed during the first infection can recognise the antigen in the second time and responds quickly to neutralise them