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No risk of contracting Covid-19 due to vaccination: DGHS

Published : Monday, 15 March, 2021 at 11:18 PM  Count : 223

No risk of contracting Covid-19 due to vaccination: DGHS

No risk of contracting Covid-19 due to vaccination: DGHS

The Directorate General of Health Services in a statement Monday said there is no risk of testing Covid-19 positive as a result of taking the Covid-19 vaccine shot.

It comes after some public figures revealed they tested positive despite taking their first dose of the vaccine.

Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Md Mohsin tested positive for Covid-19 twelve days after receiving his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that is being rolled out in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh national hockey team coach Mahbub Harun tested positive with 65% infection in lungs within a week of taking his first dose of the vaccine.

Renowned film director Kazi Hayat and his wife also tested positive within just six days of receiving their first dose of the vaccine.

These prominent cases combined with the current upswing in infections as well as deaths to fuel  questions over the efficacy of the vaccine – to the point that some began to link testing positive to having taken the vaccine. 

Why you may still test positive

While some vaccines stop people from getting infected, providing what is called sterilising immunity,  others are aimed at preventing symptomatic disease – you may still get infected, but the immune response triggered by the vaccine will fight off severe disease.  The Covid-19 vaccines fall in the latter category. 

The DGHS statement rested on the fact that no-one in Bangladesh has yet received the recommended two doses of the vaccine in the first place.

“One has to wait a minimum of two weeks after taking the second shot to get the maximum immunity from the Covishield vaccine used in the Covid-19 vaccination drive," it said.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being branded as Covishield by its licensed Indian manufacturer the Serum Institute of India (SII).

"The risk of being infected with Covid-19 stays the same if the health guidelines are not maintained properly during this waiting period (between the first and second doses)."

Difference between immune response and full protection  

"It is true that the immune response starts after taking the jab but protection comes only once a person completes the recommended dosage," Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director (disease control) of the DGHS, told UNB on Monday evening.

He also said, "Vaccination means one has to complete taking all the doses of a vaccine to get the complete protection."

"As the AstraZenecca Covid-19 vaccine is a two-shot vaccine, one cannot claim to be infected by Covid-19 despite vaccination before taking both the shots," he added.

To measure the efficacy of a vaccine, completing all the doses is a precondition, Dr Be-Nazir said.

"The virus can enter one's body before taking the shots and be in incubation period, without showing the symptoms. During this period if one takes the vaccine and then tests positive, that would actually be due to a prior exposure. As the virus was already in the body and the immune response triggered by the shot hadn’t started yet, the person would end up with Covid-19,” said the former director of DGHS.

It may be mentioned that Covid-19 is the name given to the disease caused by infection with the novel coronavirus.   

Dr Be-Nazir pointed out that it is being advised across the world to keep maintaining the non-pharmaceutical health guidelines alongside vaccination drives now underway in a number of countries.

"The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was claimed to have an efficacy of 60%-70%, meaning caution has to be maintained even after taking the two shots,” he reminded.  

"However, vaccination is important and logical as it lowers the risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19. To protect your life you must take the vaccine," he concluded.  


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