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Vaccinations in General

1. What is a vaccination

The administration of a vaccine to protect people from infectious diseases is called vaccination. Some diseases need to be vaccinated regularly to be protected (e.g. tetanus). Against other diseases, one or two vaccinations are enough (e.g. polio or Corona).

2. How do vaccinations work?

A vaccination activates the body’s own defences. This is also called the immune system. Vaccination makes the immune system produce its own substances to defend itself against disease. These substances are called antibodies.

3. Why are vaccinations important?

Vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick. When viruses, bacteria or fungi enter the body, this is called an infection. Some infections can even lead to death. Vaccination can prevent infections, as well as damage to health that sometimes only occurs many years later.

General Information on Vaccination Against the Coronavirus

4. Which vaccines against Corona are licensed in Germany?

In Germany, the vaccines of the manufacturers BioNTech („Comirnaty“), Moderna, AstraZeneca („Vaxzevria“) and Johnson & Johnson are approved.

5. How do the different vaccines work?

All vaccines activate the body’s own defence system, the so-called immune defence, so that it can protect itself against the virus. The body therefore produces its own defence substances that protect the body against the virus. Through vaccination, the body „learns“ how to defend itself.

6. How do the vaccines differ in their effectiveness?

All vaccines provide very good protection against getting seriously ill with covid-19 or even dying from it. There are no clear differences in the effectiveness of the vaccines according to current knowledge. It is certain that all vaccines protect well after the first vaccination and very well after the second vaccination.

7. Who is vaccinated with which vaccine?

In Germany, mainly younger people between 16 and 59 get BioNTech. BioNTech is now also approved in the EU for children and adolescents over 12 years of age. Here, we have to wait for the recommendation of the Standing Commission on Vaccination as to whether all people over the age of 12 should be vaccinated or initially only if they have a previous illness.

Moderna is currently licensed for people 18 years and older.

The vaccine Vaxzevria from the company AstraZeneca is also approved for people 18 years and older. The Standing Committee on Vaccination recommends this vaccine for people 60 years and older.

The vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is also given to people 18 years and older; here, a single vaccination is sufficient. This vaccine is also recommended by the Permanent Vaccination Commission only for persons 60 years and older.

BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), on the other hand, must each be vaccinated twice at intervals of a few weeks.

8. Can I choose which vaccine I am vaccinated with?

No, you cannot choose. But no one has to accept an offer of vaccination. The Corona vaccination is voluntary.

What happens immediately after vaccination?

9. What happens in my body after vaccination?

The body reacts to the vaccine and produces its own defence substances. Sometimes, therefore, there are reactions of the body that you also feel and that are unpleasant. Usually these reactions to the vaccination are mild and go away after a few days. Possible reactions to vaccination are: Pain and tenderness at the injection site, red skin or swelling. There may also be exhaustion, headache, fever, chills, nausea and muscle pain.

10. Why do some people feel bad after vaccination?

Our bodies are all different. That is why our bodies react differently. Some people therefore feel the reactions to vaccination more strongly, many more weakly and some not at all.

11. What is the difference between vaccine reactions and side effects?

The reaction to vaccination is a good sign. It shows that the vaccination is working and the body is starting to protect itself.

Side effects are not good and can also be dangerous. But they are also extremely rare. For example, a typical but rare side effect is an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

If you get a fever after vaccination, for example, and the fever has not gone away after 3 days, you should see a doctor. Also, if you get a severe headache after being vaccinated with the Vaxzevria vaccine from AstraZeneca and it lasts for several days, you should see a doctor quickly.

12. What are the vaccine reactions?

Possible vaccination reactions are: Pain and tenderness at the injection site, red skin or swelling. There may also be exhaustion, headache, fever, chills, nausea and muscle aches.

13. What are the side effects?

All side effects are extremely rare! For example, allergic reactions occur from time to time with all vaccines. With AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, blood clots occurred in an extremely small number of cases. BioNTech is still investigating whether a few cases of heart muscle inflammation were triggered by the vaccination. In addition, individual cases of acute facial nerve paralysis were observed, which in all cases disappeared after a few weeks. It is still unclear whether there is actually a connection with the vaccination.

14. How well am I protected by the first vaccination?

This is still being researched in more detail. Therefore, there are no completely reliable data yet. Currently, the first vaccination provides good to very good protection against a severe or fatal course of the disease. However, this only lasts a few weeks to months, which is why (except for Johnson & Johnson, where only one vaccination is required) the second vaccination should always be given as well. When you receive the first vaccination, you will already be given the date for the second vaccination.

15. How well am I protected by the second vaccination?

The second vaccination completes the vaccination process (except for Johnson & Johnson, where only one vaccination is required). It should be done in any case, because without it, the vaccination protection acquired after the first vaccination will decrease again after a few weeks and months.

16. How long am I protected by the full vaccination?

This is currently being researched in more detail. Experts currently say that you are still very well protected for at least half a year after the second vaccination. It is possible that the vaccination will then have to be renewed. The situation is similar for vaccinations against tetanus. This vaccination has to be renewed every 10 years.

17. Does my age affect the effectiveness of the vaccination?

Yes. With increasing age, the body’s own defence system weakens. However, according to the current state of knowledge about vaccination, there is still sufficient protection at an advanced age with the vaccines approved in the EU.

18. Can I transmit or get the virus despite being vaccinated?

Yes. Even though the probability is much lower, transmission is possible. However, according to current knowledge, the course of the disease in vaccinated persons is generally mild.

19. Do I have to be vaccinated even if I have survived a Corona infection and am healthy again?

Yes, but in this case vaccination is recommended after 6 months at the earliest, in order to stimulate the formation of the then still existing immune defence against the virus again.

20. Do I still have to wear a mouthguard and follow the hygiene rules after vaccination?

Yes. The current rules of conduct in the pandemic situation still apply. You can still transmit Corona after vaccination. Therefore, the safety rules still apply.

21. What are the benefits of vaccination?

You are protected against a severe or fatal course of the coronavirus disease.

Infection with the corona virus is much less likely due to vaccination.

You are much less likely to infect someone else with the corona virus yourself.

Apart from the health benefits, you can do many leisure activities that would not be possible without vaccination. You can go to cafés again, meet friends and enjoy more free time if you have proof of vaccination.

What are the risks?

22. Are there people who have a greater risk of infection than others?

Old and sick people have a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid 19. People who have a lot of contact with other people have a greater risk of infection. This includes, for example, doctors, nurses, people in collective accommodation, the police or teachers.

23. What does „prioritisation“ mean?

Prioritisation means that something is particularly important. In the context of Corona, prioritisation means that the people who are most at risk are protected first.

24. Why are people in collective accommodation vaccinated earlier than other people?

People in collective accommodation are at high risk of contracting the Corona virus because of the large number of people living together in a small space. This makes keeping a distance extremely difficult. It is therefore especially important to protect these people very well.

25. Are the vaccines tested on refugees?

No! The vaccines were tested on volunteers a long time ago. In the meantime, almost two billion active substances have been spent on vaccinations worldwide. Over one billion people, almost one seventh of the population of the entire world, are fully vaccinated.

26. Can I be vaccinated if I have pre-existing conditions?

Yes. Especially then you should be vaccinated, because the risk of a severe course of the COVID disease is increased for you. People with severe pre-existing conditions were therefore vaccinated first in Germany.

27. Can I be vaccinated if I am pregnant?

At present, general vaccination in pregnancy is not recommended, as there are currently no data on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. If there is a high risk of a severe course of COVID-19 for the pregnant woman due to a previous illness, vaccination may be offered in individual cases after careful consideration of the benefits and risks and after detailed information.

28. Can children be vaccinated?

The vaccine from the company BioNTech was recently approved in the EU for children and adolescents from the age of 12. However, there is still no recommendation from the permanent vaccination commission. It is expected that this recommendation will initially only be made for children and adolescents with severe pre-existing conditions.

29. Who should not be vaccinated?

People who feel ill and have a raised temperature, for example, should not be vaccinated until they are well again.

30. Does vaccination make you infertile?

No. There is no scientific evidence that vaccination makes people infertile.

31. Why have some vaccines been stopped?

There was a vaccine freeze because they wanted to do more research on possible complications from some vaccines first. The safety of all people is always the most important thing. That is why research is being done so thoroughly.

How can I get vaccinated?

32. Do I have to register to be vaccinated?

Yes. In Lower Saxony there are several ways to register:

The hotline number is: 0800 99 88 665.

The hotline is available from Monday to Saturday between 8 am and 8 pm.

The hotline is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Online vaccination portal:

https://www.impfportal-niedersachsen.de

You can also call your family doctor or doctors in the area directly. Many doctors vaccinate against Corona in their practice. As a rule, you also have to register there beforehand and there will be a waiting time of a few weeks. In accommodation for refugees, the social workers help with registration.

At Arztauskunft Niedersachsen you can search for doctors who speak many different languages:

https://www.arztauskunft-niedersachsen.de

33. Who answers my questions about vaccination?

Before a vaccination, everyone is entitled to a medical consultation. This is true wherever they have a vaccination, in their GP practice as well as in a vaccination centre. Any questions you have will be discussed. If you have not yet decided on a vaccination, you can contact your family doctor for a consultation.

34. Who exactly vaccinates in Germany?

In Germany, vaccination centres also vaccinate with mobile vaccination teams, general practitioners and specialists in private practice, from 7.6.2021 doctors in companies and private doctors.

35. What are mobile vaccination teams?

Mobile vaccination teams are part of a vaccination centre and are teams of doctors who travel, for example, to nursing and old people’s homes, to collective accommodation for refugees or also to residential areas where a particularly large number of people live in a confined space. They vaccinate directly on site under medical conditions.

36. Where can I get more information?

More information is available here:

https://www.niedersachsen.de/Coronavirus https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/
www.impfen-gegen-corona.eu

Legal Questions

37. Is vaccination voluntary?

Yes. In Germany, people always decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated or not.

38. Will I be punished if I do not get vaccinated?

No. No one is punished. Vaccination is voluntary.

39. Does the vaccination affect ongoing asylum procedures?

No. Whether you get vaccinated or not is not punished and has no effect on an ongoing asylum procedure.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) develops vaccination recommendations for Germany. The commission consists of 16 volunteer experts. The committee deals with questions on vaccinations and infectious diseases and makes vaccination recommendations.

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