Farooq Abdullah tests positive, 4 weeks after vaccination

Vaccination still beneficial even if one tests positive later: Doctors
Farooq Abdullah tests positive, 4 weeks after vaccination
File Photo

Raising questions about COVID19 vaccine efficacy, National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah tested positive on Tuesday, four weeks after he got the shot. Doctors however say vaccination is still beneficial even if one tests positive later.

The news was shared by his son Omar Abdullah on Twitter early Tuesday morning. "My father has tested positive for COVID19

and is showing some symptoms," he wrote while announcing his self-isolation as a close contact.

The 83-year old MP had received Astra-Zeneca's Covishield vaccine on 02 March at SKIMS Soura. Following the jab, a video message of Dr Farooq advocating the vaccine was circulated over social media by J&K's health and medical education department to give a fillip to the vaccination drive.

Many doctors feel the hesitancy towards vaccine may increase as a public figure will be seen as "not getting benefitted" by the shot. However, they have warned against "wrong notions" being developed against the vaccine, arguing that it still carries benefits.

Director General H&FW, MCH and Immunization, Dr Saleem ur Rehman said that vaccination of Dr Abdullah and his testing positive today were a reminder of how important the drive was. "Dr Farooq has a kidney ailment, metabolic syndrome and is elderly. If he tested positive and has only mild symptoms of the virus, it is proof of how vaccine helps in saving lives," he said. Dr Rehman said that the sample of Dr Farooq will be sent for genome sequencing as he had recently traveled outside J&K.

Prof Parvaiz A Koul, a vaccine expert and head of Internal and Pulmonary Medicine at SKIMS Soura said the efficacy of Serum Institute vaccine, or others in market is not 100 percent and there would always be a small percentage of people "who will not have the desired immune response".

Prof Koul said that Dr Farooq was yet to get his second dose of the vaccine and one dose does not confer adequate immunity. "That's why we have a booster dose," he said. Moreover, he said, the Octogenarian MP, having undergone a kidney transplant, may be on immunosuppressant drugs which "could mitigate his antibody response to the vaccine".

Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, head of Pulmonary Medicine at GMC Srinagar said post vaccination, it was important to measure the antibody levels of the recipient. "One should not be led to believe that after getting the injection, one is protected fully," he said, adding that the time of developing antibodies, the measurement of antibodies and the efficacy data of the vaccine were to be taken into account. Dr Shah said vaccination protected people against severe disease even if they test positive. "Testing positive does not mean the vaccine has not worked. That is absolutely a myth," he said.

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