Side effects, protection and contamination: the answers to your vaccination questions

In our neighbouring countries they had already started, but today the first coronavvaccinations are also a fact in the Netherlands. At the GGD in Veghel, the vaccination of care staff from nursing homes and small-scale housing forms is started. In addition, a number of hospitals start vaccination of care personnel.

In this article, we answer frequently asked questions about corona vaccinations.

Can I get sick from the vaccination?

The most common side effects of the Pfizer vaccine, which is used first, are redness, pain and swelling at the puncture site, according to the Board for Evaluation of Medicines (CBG). That‘s similar to many other vaccinations, like the flu shot.

Muscle pain and joint pain can also occur, as well as fatigue, headache, chills and elevation. These side effects are mild according to the CBG and disappear after a few days.

There is also a possibility that unknown side effects may occur, such as a rare allergic reaction, but according to the Ministry, that chance is very small.

The flu-like side effects you get according to professor of immunology Marjolein van Egmond because your immune system is activated by the vaccine. You can’t get a corona through the inoculation, because only a very small particle of the virus is used in the vaccine.

Can I still get corona after vaccination?

Yes, it can, reports the RIVM. But over 90% of people receiving the Pfizer vaccine are protected from corona from seven days after the second vaccination. You get the Pfizer vaccine in two parts. The second vaccination is given 21 days after the first prick.

The chance of getting corona after vaccination is therefore small and the disease course is less severe according to RIVM. Therefore, it remains important to get tested when you get complaints that fit corona. Even if you‘re vaccinated.

Why should I take the vaccine if I can still get sick?

Thus, most of the people do not get sick after the coronavaccination, says Van Egmond. According to her, the protection of the Pfizer vaccine is extremely high. โ€œIt was hoped for a protection of about 70 percent, but it’s 95 percent.โ€

According to Van Egmond, you also take a vaccine not only for yourself, but also for the protection of others. โ€œAs a person, you can have the bad luck of getting sick in a single case, but by vaccinating you make society safer from the virus. In this way, we protect the weak and we can slowly get rid of the measures. It is also a question of solidarity.โ€

Healthcare worker Sanna Elkadiri receives the first vaccine today. She takes it mainly for herself, but also for her clients:

How long am I protected from corona after vaccination?

The CBG states that at the moment we only know that protection is still high some three months after vaccination. But it is unknown how long that protection will last. Research can only give more clarity about this later.

โ€œ It has only been a few months since the first people have been vaccinated,โ€ explains Van Egmond. โ€œAs time passes, you may see that people are getting sick again. It‘s only then that’s when you know it‘s worked out. It’s really a question of waiting.โ€

Can someone who‘s been vaccinated still infect someone else?

Vaccination protects against disease by corona, says RIVM. โ€œWe don’t know yet if someone who has been vaccinated can spread the virus. That is why we take the certainty for the uncertainty: for vaccinated persons, the same measures apply for those who have not been vaccinated.โ€

Why are there so many different vaccines? Are they all different?

The vaccines work on the basis of different techniques. โ€œIn advance, we did not know which vaccine technique would work best,โ€ says Van Egmond. โ€œThat was unpredictable and therefore focused on the development of different types of vaccines.โ€

Chances are that you will be vaccinated with a vaccine of Pfizer/BionTech, Moderna, Janssen or AstraZeneca.

How exactly these vaccines work we explain in this video:

Does the vaccine also protect against new variants of corona?

According to RIVM, there is no evidence that the vaccine does not protect against new mutations of the coronavirus, such as the more contagious British variant. โ€œCountries worldwide are closely monitoring whether vaccination protects against new virus mutations.โ€

Does it make sense to get vaccinated if I‘ve already had corona? Then I already have natural antibodies, right?

โ€œ We don’t really know yet,โ€ says Van Egmond. โ€œWe do not yet know how long the protection of the vaccine is, but also how long the protection is if you have had the disease.โ€

She emphasizes that there is no scientific evidence yet, but that it is likely that at least one yearare protected. โ€œIf you had corona in the first wave, you could get it again this spring. If you had it in October, I would wait until more information is known about the protection. The vaccine is still scarce, so someone else can use it.โ€

Why do people under 18 years of age not get vaccination? Is that gonna change?

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people from 16 years of age, but in the Netherlands only people from 18 years of age are vaccinated. According to the Ministry of Health, the virus is hardly dangerous for children under the age of 18, so at the moment there is no urgent reason to vaccinate them quickly.

This may change if more research has been done by vaccine developers on the effectiveness of the vaccine for young people.

Is everything going to be like old now that there‘s a vaccine?CCEit on 3 sorted it out:

Is it safe to get vaccinated when I’m pregnant?

Because little is still known about possible adverse effects of the vaccine during pregnancy, RIVM does not recommend it. The advice is to get vaccinated after your pregnancy.

If you have health problems that give you a higher chance of getting seriously ill by corona, an exception may be made. The RIVM advises in this case to consult with your doctor whether vaccination during your pregnancy is more sensible.

Is it safe to be vaccinated if I belong to a risk group?

This depends on the risk group to which you belong. According to Van Egmond, the vaccine is safe for people who have underlying diseases such as obesity or cardiovascular diseases. โ€œThey are more at risk of getting severe corona, and they are well protected by the vaccine.โ€

Who have not been included in studies so far are people who have problems with their immune system. According to Van Egmond, this group should consult a doctor first. โ€œThis could create theoretical problems as the immune system may become even more confused by vaccination.โ€

When can I be vaccinated?

Care staff from hospitals and nursing homes are therefore vaccinated first. Employees of disabled care, home care and acute covid care in the hospital are also in front of the line for the vaccine.

After them follow other groups, the most vulnerable people first. But the exact turn of them is not yet known. This depends, among other things, on when vaccines are approved and delivered.

Here‘s the list of who’s in when:

This vaccination strategy of the Cabinet may change. Minister De Jonge stresses that much depends on the speed of the adoption of vaccines for the European market and how many vaccines can be delivered when.

Is it mandatory to get me vaccinated?

โ€œ Vaccination against the coronavirus is not mandatory,โ€ says the Ministry of VWS. So you make the decision yourself whether or not to be vaccinated.