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Antibody or serology tests look for antibodies in your blood that fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Antibodies are proteins created by your immune system that help you fight off infections. They are made after you have been infected or have been vaccinated against an infection.
- Vaccination is a safe, effective way to teach your body to create antibodies.
- Antibodies can protect you from getting those infections for some period of time afterward. How long this protection lasts is different for each disease and each person.
- Antibody tests should generally not be used to diagnose a current infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. An antibody test may not show if you have a current infection because it can take 1 to 3 weeks after the infection for your body to make antibodies.
Effect of vaccination
- COVID-19 vaccines teach your body to produce antibodies to fight infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. If you get an antibody test after receiving a vaccine, you might test positive by some (but not all) antibody tests. This depends on which type of antibody the specific test detects.
- Antibody testing is not currently recommended to determine if you are immune to COVID-19 following COVID-19 vaccination. Antibody testing should also not be used to decide if someone needs to be vaccinated. CDC’s Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing provide more information on how antibody testing should be used and interpreted.
Whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19 antibodies using an antibody test, you still should take steps, including getting vaccinated, to protect yourself and others.