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After Receiving Both Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, I Went for an Antibody Test Which Was Negative. So the Vaccine Did Not Work for Me. Now What?

This content was current as of the date it was released. In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge.

Ask the Doctor Question:

I am a CLL patient who received both doses of Moderna, with my last dose in February.
I now find out that the vaccine may not have worked on CLL patients. I went for an antibody test which was negative.  The vaccine did not work on me. Now what? Is there research going on for the CLL patients or are we out here by ourselves?????

Answer: First, please make sure you received the correct antibody test, as we have had reports of many person’s physicians ordering the incorrect one (there are two). The Nucleocapsid test looks for whether you have already been naturally infected with COVID-19. Positive means a person has been previously infected. Negative means you have not been previously infected. The Semi-quant Total Ab (“Spike Antibody”) is the correct one to have performed, as it shows whether there has been a response to the vaccine. If the Semi-quant Total Ab number is <0.80, there was no response. If the Semi‑Quantitative Total Ab number is >0.80, there was a response to the vaccine. The problem is that there are no data yet to tell us what level of antibody response equates to immunity for us.

To answer your question, monoclonal antibodies are looking very promising for us, but emergency use authorization has not yet been given just yet for the use of COVID prevention. You can (and should) request them immediately if you become infected though that is the only “use” they are currently approved for. Hang in there just a while longer. We believe better things will be coming.

In the meantime, CLL Society is still urging everyone with CLL (regardless of your vaccine and/or antibody status) to have continued diligence by wearing a mask in all situations. If you have to go out in public, a tightly fitted N-95 is highly recommended. Also, please continue to adhere closely to social distancing, and keep up with diligent hand hygiene efforts, especially now that the general population is unmasking after the latest CDC guidelines. We also strongly urge you to have household members vaccinated if possible.

There are currently many researchers with expertise in blood cancer who are looking at this very subject and multiple studies are being performed worldwide. We should be hearing more about this subject in the coming months, so please stay tuned to CLL Society’s website. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up to receive our weekly newsletters so you can receive the most current information on CLL and COVID‑19 updates directly to your inbox.