JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the delta variant spreads, positive COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise. Unlike one year ago, about half of the country is fully vaccinated.
This leads some people to believe the COVID-19 vaccine can cause you to test positive for COVID-19 on the viral test.
This claim is FALSE
- UF Health
“The COVID-19 vaccine will not make you test positive with a PCR test,” said Dr. Elizabeth Devos with UF Health.
First, it’s important to understand how these vaccines work.
The COVID-19 vaccines distributed in the US (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson) do not actually contain the virus, and cannot cause an active infection.
The vaccines use spike proteins to teach our bodies to make antibodies to fight the virus if it enters the body.
COVID-19 tests only come out positive if someone is infected with the virus.
We also see the claim the vaccine can make you test positive on a COVID-19 antibody test.
This claim is TRUE.
Antibody tests are generally used to detect if someone previously had COVID-19. Some tests look for antibodies that your body produced to fight the virus.
If your body develops an immune response to the vaccine, which is the goal, it would have also caused your body to produce antibodies that can fight the virus.
For these reasons we are going to verify this claim as true, it is possible the vaccine can make you test positive on a COVID-19 antibody test.
Experts caution people to not use these tests to determine if the vaccine was effective as commercially available antibody tests do not always check for the same antibodies associated with the vaccine.