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October, 3

People who have had COVID-19 might need only one coronavirus vaccine dose

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People who have previously had COVID-19 may only need one shot of a coronavirus vaccine to be protected, according to new research.

But experts say all Australians — regardless of whether they’ve been infected or not — should still get two doses.

The study, published this month by The Journal of the American Medical Association, found people who have already had COVID-19 — even those who didn’t show symptoms — had higher antibody responses to a single vaccine dose than those who were not previously infected.

About 4,000 participants were given either the Pfizer vaccine (which is approved for use in Australia) or the Moderna vaccine, both of which use new mRNA technology.

David Gordon, head of microbiology and infectious diseases at Flinders University, said the difference in responses between the two groups was immediate.

“Seven days after the vaccination, people who haven’t had COVID essentially have no detectable antibody [responses] at all … and then 14 days after the vaccine, the antibody level starts to go up,” Professor Gordon said.

“But if you take the people who were antibody positive at the beginning, who’d had COVID, they have colossal antibody responses within seven days.”

Experts say findings ‘not surprising’

Larisa Labzin, research fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, said the results weren’t surprising.

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