PARAMUS, N.J. — Since getting vaccinated in January, Shari Gold had always wondered if she indeed had the antibodies to fight off the virus.
“I’m just curious,” she told PIX11 News.
To give her peace of mind, Gold paid a visit to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus to take a Vaccine Immunity Response test, the first of its kind being offered in the state.
Just like the regular antibody test, blood is drawn but in this case the analysis zeros in on the “spike protein” or in simple terms — the vaccine-generated antibodies instead of the natural ones developed after infection.
“This is another tool in our armament against the pandemic,” explained Deborah Visconi, President and CEO at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. “So the demand is really about understanding the immunity levels of our communities.”
The test which has received emergency use authorization from the FDA, produces results within 3 hours. Those wanting to take it must wait at least 15 days after being fully vaccinated.
While a positive antibody test means that a patient has developed immunity, a negative antibody test does not necessarily mean that the patient needs another vaccine, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gian Varbaro.
“Patients with a negative test might have developed T-cell immunity, for which there is no current commercially available test,” he explained. The hospital says it’s prepared to administer over 500 tests a day.
Visconi hopes the test will undercut misinformation and reluctance surrounding the vaccines.
“This is vital in assuring confidence to the public that the vaccines are safe, efficacious and they work,” she told PIX11 News.
The test requires a physician’s prescription. Those interested in getting tested should call 201.225.7130 to schedule an appointment for the test if they already have a prescription for it or to schedule a physician consultation regarding obtaining a test prescription.
(CORRECTION: The headline originally stated that the hospital invented the test. They are merely offering the first test invented.)