How do I know? The Ontario Health Study told me.
As I discussed in a previous post, I am participating in the Ontario Health Study, a longitudinal study of a large sample of 225,000. After completing a questionnaire about Covid – 19, I was part of a subset of 12,000 asked to provide a blood sample to test for the presence of antibodies, which could be the result of having been infected, which I hadn’t, or having been vaccinated, which I had.
I took my first blood sample in early April, five days after I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The result was negative, meaning that I didn’t have antibodies. This which was expected because it takes up to two weeks to develop them. I took my second blood sample 4 months and 9 days after my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The lab result told me that I now have antibodies.
I am a Data Point
I had hoped the study would tell me my levels of antibodies against three types of Covid – 19 proteins (SmT1, RBD, and NP), but it didn’t. It only told me that my result is positive, which means that it exceeds a predetermined threshold level for two of the three proteins. I imagine it would be hard for me, or even my family physician, to make sense of a detailed result, because it would be lacking in context.
The purpose of the study is to determine, among other things, how long people with different characteristics (age, gender, other medical conditions) retain antibodies. Those results would provide the context that would enable me to make sense of my detailed results. My participation in the study does not provide me with detailed personal information, in essence a private good, but rather uses my data to develop knowledge about immunity to Covid – 19, a public good of value to everyone. I can take a measure of satisfaction in knowing that I incurred a little bit of pain to contribute to research.
The study will be taking a third sample next March or April. I had my booster in late November, so it will be interesting to see if I continue to stay positive. I’ll post about those results as well as any research results that are communicated to participants.