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Coronavirus vaccination: frequently asked questions

by the Federal Ministry of Health as of December 21, 2020

  • This way of thinking is understandable at first. But it pays to think things through a little more. There are some groups of people who do become seriously ill after becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The risk of becoming seriously ill or of dying after contracting Covid-19 is many times greater than with the flu.
  • Especially older people or those with pre-existing illnesses have a greater risk of becoming seriously ill.
  • The new coronavirus vaccine offers the best-possible protection against infection and potential consequences.
  • Only when approximately 70 percent of the population are immune will transmission of SARS-CoV-2 be reduced to the extent that the pandemic will
    disappear.
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No, vaccination against Covid-19 is not mandatory in Germany. But being vaccinated is highly recommended. If you are vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but others as well.

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You don’t need an attestation. Your personal ID will suffice. For people with a high job-related risk of becoming infected, an attestation will be provided by their employer.

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  • The vaccine will not be available at doctors’ surgeries in the first few weeks of the vaccination programme. This is a temporary situation.
  • And it is largely due to logistics. Some vaccines have to be kept at extremely low temperatures, are supplied in multi-dose containers and must be properly stored. In addition, it is easier to organise vaccinations if the people who are to be protected as members of priority groups are vaccinated first.
  • The more people vaccinated at an early stage, the sooner the pandemic
    can be brought under control.
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  • Covid-19 vaccinations will initially be administered at vaccination centres.
  • Mobile teams will also be deployed, for example to administer vaccines in residential care homes.
  • At a later date, vaccinations will also be available at doctor’s surgeries.
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No. Although the vaccine is stored at around -70°C, shortly before vaccination it is thawed and mixed into a saline solution which is stored at normal refrigerator or room temperature.

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To ensure complete protection, you will need to be vaccinated twice at intervals of between three or four weeks.

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  • The ultimate aim is to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated against coronavirus as soon as possible.
  • But at the beginning, there will not be enough vaccine available for all. That’s why it is recommended that those who have the greatest health-related risk of developing a serious case of Covid-19 and also those with a job-related risk of becoming infected are vaccinated first. The people who need to be vaccinated most urgently will thus be vaccinated first.
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  • Because the vaccine is only available in limited quantities to begin with, people with an especially high risk of developing a serious or fatal case of Covid-19 will be vaccinated first.
  • It is planned that all people to be vaccinated as a matter of priority will be notified personally or via the press.
  • If you provide care for persons entitled to be vaccinated, such as elderly people in residential nursing homes, who cannot give their consent to vaccination themselves, it is best for you as a carer to hand in your written consent to the home management in advance.
  • People with a particularly high job-related risk of infection or who have close contact with vulnerable groups of people should also be able to be vaccinated first. This means:
    • Residents of senior citizens’ homes or residential nursing homes
    • Nursing staff in both outpatient and inpatient geriatric care
    • Other staff in senior citizens’ homes or residential nursing
      homes who have contact with residents
    • Persons aged 80 and over
    • Staff in medical institutions
      • with an especially high risk of becoming infected
        (e.g. in emergency rooms, in providing medical care for
        Covid-19 patients)
      • with close contact to vulnerable groups (e.g. in oncology
        or transplant medicine)
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  • Several tens of thousands of people were involved in the vaccine trials. No serious side-effects have been reported so far.
  • Possible frequently-occurring side-effects include slight-to-moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue and headaches, all of which are temporary and usually disappear within two days.
  • In the approval trials, side-effects can be observed with a frequency of 1 in 1,000. No conclusions can be drawn at this stage regarding any long-term effects.
  • While certain risks cannot be ruled out, in Germany only vaccines that meet our very strict safety standards and have undergone extensive clinical trials are approved.
  • The safety tests were optimised for the coronavirus vaccine in that the traditional test phases were carried out in parallel and not staggered at intervals over time. But that does not mean that test phases were left out.
  • The main priority is safety first.
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  • If you notice any side-effects, you can report them straight to your doctor or local pharmacist. It’s best to stay in contact with your doctor. Even if they did not administer the vaccination, they are your first point of contact in evaluating side-effects, making a possible diagnosis and prescribing follow-up treatment.
  • Suspected cases of side-effects are taken very seriously and efforts are made to clarify as quickly as possible whether the symptoms involve a coincidental reaction or are a real side-effect. In many cases, a suspected side-effect is not confirmed. Side-effects can also be reported to the Paul Ehrlich Institute via the nebenwirkungen.bund.de website or via the Paul Ehrlich Institute app SafeVac 2.0-App Your doctor will and is required to report any side-effects that occur to the respective authorities.
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  • Such assumptions are conspiracy theories, not facts. The microchip claim is false.
  • It must be remembered that research on the Covid-19 vaccine is conducted by scientists. Their aim is to develop a safe coronavirus vaccine.
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  • Your health comes first. Your doctor can talk to you and will answer all your questions about the coronavirus vaccine.
  • The fact is that the coronavirus vaccine gives hope of providing safe and effective protection against Covid-19 infection. Prior to approval, the vaccines have been tested in clinical trials involving several tens of thousands of volunteers and no serious side-effects have occurred so far. No conclusions can be drawn at this stage regarding any long-term effects.
  • The risk of harm from contracting the infection is far greater.
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  • Researchers already know a lot about SARS-CoV-2 from similar viruses.
  • That knowledge could be quickly used and provided a good basis on which to develop the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • In addition, researchers around the world have been working on vaccine development simultaneously, sharing their latest results with each other and passing them on to the testing and approval authorities. This kind of global scientific collaboration has not been seen prior to this pandemic.
  • But there’s no cause for concern. None of the test phases were left out. Several
    test phases were worked on in parallel and cooperation was extremely intensive
    throughout.
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  • You’re referring to mRNA vaccines. These are not converted into DNA and have no influence on our genes. The fact is that DNA cannot be made from mRNA in human cells. While DNA and mRNA sound similar, they are two entirely different things.
  • When you receive an mRNA vaccine, your body responds by making proteins which your immune system responds to by making antibodies which then protect you against the actual virus.
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Vaccine reactions are not the same as side-effects. Based on the results of pre-approval clinical studies that showed good tolerability, the incidence of side-effects is low. However, as after every vaccination, vaccine reactions can occur. They are actually a good sign that your body is absorbing the vaccine and is building antibodies. Vaccine reactions can include things like medium-severity headaches, pain in the limbs and joints, pain in the arm near the injection site, tiredness or flu-like symptoms. Monitor your symptoms and if you have any questions, contact your doctor as described in the answer to „Where can I report side-effects?” above.

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  • Initially, the vaccines will only be available for adults. This is simply due to the fact that the vaccine has not yet been sufficiently tested in children and adolescents. It cannot, therefore, be recommended for general use among these younger groups.
  • If a vaccine for children is developed in the (hopefully) near future, the regulatory authorities must then ensure that it is effective and safe, just as for vaccines for adults.
  • When the time comes, vaccination recommendations will also be made for children.
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The vaccine takes effect and provides protection approximately 2-3 weeks after the second vaccination, but even after that you will still need to comply with the prevailing hygiene and distancing rules. Despite immunity, you may still be a carrier – so the rules continue to apply for the time being, for everyone’s protection.

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No, that is not necessary if you have no symptoms. The tolerability of the vaccine is not negatively influenced by an acute infection.

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It is generally assumed that people are immune after contracting Covid-19. If you have already had a coronavirus infection, you do not need to be vaccinated. However, vaccination is not harmful if the infection has passed unnoticed.

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According to manufacturers’ instructions, the Covid-19 vaccines offer a high degree of protection of up to 95 percent. Studies show that in trials, Covid-19 vaccinated volunteers were 95 percent less likely to contract coronavirus than those vaccinated with the placebo. If a Covid-19 vaccinated person comes into contact with the pathogen it is highly unlikely that they will become infected.

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You do not have to pay – you will receive the vaccination free of charge.

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