I have to admit, it took me a while to figure out what the heck was going on and finally write this post. To make the story short, I didn’t have a chance for a clean experiment and got ‘something flu-like’ a week or so after vaccination along with my family. No COVID according to the PCR testing, so I got on my feet quickly, got the second doze of the vaccine. Blood tests showed COVID antibodies for me, but not for my family. Yeah, and I got a nice and shiny certificate for that.
And now go the bloody details. The order of events was pretty simple:
- Got something flu-like after getting cold’n’wet in the autumn weather,
- Got a negative COVID swab,
- Got the second shot,
- A few colleagues who got sick shortly after me, tested positive for COVID, so I was definetely in contact with them in about a week or so.
The moment of my vaccination was shortly before the horrible ‘second wave’ that turned out to be worse than spring’s. My plan was to carefully wait till I have the antibodies, but the whole thing didn’t go that well.
I got flu-like symptoms at about day 7 or 8 after the first, and this time it was not the side affects that were pretty gone by that time.
I got a few days of sore throat, headache and temperature, cough, running nose… Pretty much the common cold. Smells and taste? Mostly were the same. The android app called ‘ТМЦ ДЗМ’ crashed when I pressed the button to call the doctor, so I had to call the hotline that put me through to the doctors watching over us.
At that moment I was considering four possible scenarios:
- Inbetween the moment of taking the blood tests and vaccination I got my doze of the virus an ended up with a combo of covid and vaccine. Immunity should be pretty good, provided that I survive.
- Same as the above, but I got a placebo, not a nice perspective.
- Got some flu or common cold while my body was weakened by the vaccine. The doctors thought that as the most probable scenario.
- Finally, it might’ve been a placebo and a common cold from stress, right?
On the other hand, common cold is a good excuse to stay at home for a while, since the numbers pretty much got hellish. After all, I can work remotely.
When the doctors learned that I got sick they called me twice a day just to check in. That was very unexpected and pleasant. The doctors were mostly young, not yet burned out from the hard work.
While I was thinking about what could’ve gone wrong, my body recovered. My COVID swab came out negative, so the doctors decided that I should get the second shot nevertheless.
I looked at my chances and decided to go for it. Put on a mask, mixed’n’filled the bottle with sanitizer and went to the
infected Racoon City doctors office.
The city didn’t change much because of the pandemic. The were crowds in the streets, a lot of people without masks. A lot just didn’t give much of a damn about it. That was a huge difference compared to spring lockouts.
The checkup was way faster at the doctor’s office, the doctor mostly filled in the forms, measured the blood pressure and sent me to get the shot.
Side effects arrived faster, but were gone in less than a day and I could hardly see much of a difference. My temperature got up to 37 by the evening and stayed like that for a few hours before quickly normalizing. My body was pretty much expecting the second shot.
It was two days after I got the second shot when troubling news started arriving fast. Colleagues who got sick shortly after me tested positive! It took me a while to gather all possible info and reconstruct the chain of infection. So far it looked like I was definitely in contact with the COVID infection shortly after the vaccination, somewhere around day 6 or 7.
So what the heck was it? Covid? In that case my body reacted in less than 2 days. Flu?
Fortunetelling using antibody testing results
The next big day was day 42 since the moment of my vaccination. At that moment the body’s immune response to the vaccine is at the very maxiumum. So it looked like the very best moment to get all the bloodwork done to measure the antibodies.
The initial plan was simple: I’ll get the tests done, compare with the results from the Phase II study. If I get roughly the same averages – I got the vaccine. Got more – vaccine + covid, less – COVID-only, I guess. So these were my results:
Before vaccination: igM: 0.3 igG 0.3
42 days after igM 0.5 igG: 38.2
Googling the Phase II study results I found the N+1article abount the vacccine And it has some nice charts.
So, if they measured RBD-specific, that looks like the most probable, I got way too little. Neutralizing – Seems like the average, but that’s not enough for long-term protection. So I had my doubts.
The devil was, as usual, in the fine details and I had to ask a ton of dumb questions to my friends.
First of all, they don’t write in the results of the tests antibodies to what part of the virus were measured: RBD part of the S-protein N-protein etc. So some tests may show the results of the vaccine, others will not.
Next pitfall is the chemistry of the whole process: After the black magic using weird chemicals is completed opacity of the sample changes. It is measured using a LED and a photodiode, just as you might expect and the result is multiplied by some coefficients obtained previously during calibration. That brings us to a few conclusions:
- “Units” in which we get the results are totally dependent on the test system, and may vary from batch to batch.
- Results we get from the ADC are multiplied by some coefficients and we may get discrete values and the steps depend on .
So my options were simple: get the tests to the N-protein done. If no N-protein – it was COVID, some private clinics offer that kind of testing. If I got that – it was COVID. I decided to take another route and do the antibody testing for members of my family who had the same symptoms. For them I picked express test strips, since going to the hospital for testing was certain risk (in case they had no antibodies).
I picked the test strips that another subject of Phase III trials used, checked them and…. Negative! So it was flu after all!
Judging by all stuff I got, I can carefully assume that the vaccine works and even saved my bacon at least once. And since remote work for us is over despite the pandemic, I’m still testing it right now, so far without an issue. I’m going to do some further tests to see how long the antibodies will last.
Other success stories
- A doctor got a shot and documents his experiences. A worthy read.
- Meduza journalist took a shot . They say she got a placebo. Very little details, too much emotions, but still is worthy to keep an eye on.
So far I’m waiting for the moment when they will tell me if it was vaccine or placebo, and I will run another antibody test to see how long the defences will last. And until that moment – I’ll just keep posting some fun electronics stuff instead that I know and understand better.