Side effects are ever good

Corona: How does the vaccination work?

Status: 19.01.2021 09:55 a.m.

The vaccination against the corona virus: Some can hardly wait to be vaccinated, others have reservations or even fear. How does the vaccination work and what are the side effects?

Many people are longingly waiting for their corona vaccination appointment because they know: Only vaccination can end the crisis. Others, however, have reservations. But they are unfounded if you understand how the vaccination works.

What is actually being injected?

The corona virus has so-called spike proteins on the outer shell. The virus penetrates the human cell through them. Inside the virus is its genetic material, i.e. the blueprint for the virus: the mRNA. Only that part of the blueprint that is responsible for the spike protein is isolated for vaccination. Researchers can replicate this part of the mRNA and coat it in fat - this is the vaccine that is injected into the arm. The cells around the puncture site contain the blueprint for the spike protein after vaccination and begin to produce and release it.

The good thing about this vaccination is that the spike protein is completely harmless on its own - and the blueprint for the rest of the virus is not injected at all. This is a huge advantage over conventional vaccinations with dead or weakened viruses.

What are the side effects?

The immune system recognizes the spike proteins produced as foreign and begins to form suitable antibodies. It takes a few days to mobilize the immune system. During this time, some people notice that their body is working: The vaccinated arm hurts, some feel limp or have a slight fever. This shows that the immune system is active. This can be uncomfortable, but the alternative to vaccination is a disease whose symptoms are far worse than the side effects. If you come into contact with coronaviruses after the vaccination, the immune system recognizes the virus immediately based on the spike protein and fights it before it can spread in the body.

Side effects like the swine flu vaccination?

Many are afraid of side effects - such as the vaccination against swine flu H1N1 2010: A few weeks after this vaccination, some people suffered from sleeping sickness (narcolepsy). However, narcolepsy was also a symptom of swine flu itself. However, it only affects people who are genetically predisposed to it.

As a result, very few people suffered from this side effect. The cases also occurred within six weeks of vaccination. This was also the case with all vaccinations that have ever had long-term effects: they usually showed up within eight weeks at the latest.

Long-term effects after vaccination are extremely rare

That is the reason why one waited more than two months before approval for coronavirus vaccinations. Unlike a drug, a vaccination cannot accumulate in the body for weeks, but is quickly broken down again. Once administered, it quickly shows its effects and possibly also side effects. Long-term effects are difficult to track down not because they occur late, but because they are extremely rare.

Has the vaccine been adequately tested?

Many people also fear the vaccine because the time to approval was much shorter than with other vaccines. But the shortened deadline has a simple reason: During the pandemic, a large number of people around the world were infected with the coronavirus at the same time. So it didn't take long to see that among the study participants, almost exclusively those people who received a sham vaccination without an active ingredient (placebo) were infected. In addition, many more people were vaccinated and examined at the same time in studies because there was more money available for studies.

Experts on the subject

Dr. Martin Moder molecular biologist, science cabaret artist, author
Video: "Why the RNA vaccination doesn't change your genome"

Prof. Dr. Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff, chemist, virologist
Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of AiCuris Antiinfective Cures GmbH
Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 475
42117 Wuppertal


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