Updated March 16, 2017
What Is A Vaccine Titer?
A "vaccine titer" or "titre" is a technical term that represents a measure of concentration. In reference to humans, the term vaccine titer is used to represent how much of a specific type of antibody is circulating in the blood at any given moment.
What Is A Vaccine Titer Test?
There a lot of confusion as to what a vaccine titer test is. A vaccine titer test is not an injection, shot, or vaccination.
Instead, a vaccine titer test is the actual blood test that measures the vaccine titer level. It is run in a laboratory.
Vaccine Titer tests measure a level of specific antibodies to diseases in your blood.
Okay, but what's an Antibody?
An antibody is a component of the immune system. Sometimes, it is known as an immunoglobulin.
The immune system uses antibodies as the initial defenders against biological invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
Specific antibodies create a lock-and-key fit with components (also called antigens) on the bacteria and viruses that
they protect against.
How did I get antibodies in my blood?
There are a couple of ways to get antibodies in your blood. The first way is through natural exposure to a disease.
For example, if you had the chickenpox when you were younger, you might have antibodies to chickenpox. In that case,
your result will generally show up as positive. The second way to get antibodies is through vaccination. Vaccines are
dead or weakened live forms of the disease that are designed to stimulate your immune system to act as if you actually
had the disease. The immune system responds by producing antibodies to protect you.
What is the procedure for getting a vaccine titer test?
Vaccine titers are laboratory tests. First, you need to get an order from your doctor or medical provider
to get your blood drawn. Then, you go to a laboratory and get your blood drawn. Once that is done, it generally
takes up to a week to get your results.
How do I get my vaccine titer results?
By law, the results of your vaccine titer have to be sent to the medical provider who ordered your test.
You should contact your medical provider directly or order below.
How long does it take to get vaccine titer results back?
Once your blood is drawn, the results for the most common vaccine titers come back in 3-4 business days. Uncommon vaccine titers (e.g. Rabies, Tetanus, Polio) may take longer as they are often sent to a specialty lab.
What do vaccine titer results look like?
Vaccine titer results are reported as either qualitative or quantitative. "Qualitative" means that your results
will be either Positive or Negative, without a numerical result. "Quantitative" means that your results will be
reported as a number. The number can be compared against the Reference Interval on your lab report.
Why does my job or school need a vaccine titer?
Vaccine Titer tests are used as a measure of immunity to certain diseases.
People who work in certain settings, such as hospitals or medical clinics, are at an increased risk
for being exposed to certain diseases. As a result, many institutions want proof of a certain antibody level or
vaccination for diseases such as Hepatitis B, Mumps, Measles, Rubella and Varicella prior to stepping into those settings.
Will my health insurance pay for my vaccine titer?
It depends on the type of health insurance that you have. Some insurance plans will cover it but many will not.
Additionally, in order to use your health insurance, you will have to find a medical provider who accepts your
health insurance and can order the vaccine titers for you.