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Corona vaccinations: important questions and answers

How does an mRNA vaccine work?

The vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna are so-called mRNA vaccines. They are based on a new mechanism. The preparation contains genetic information about the pathogen, from which the body produces a virus protein. Body cells use the genetic information to build the pathogen component. The human immune system then recognizes the foreign pathogen and builds up a protective immune response.

The aim of vaccination in this way is to stimulate the body to produce antibodies against this protein in order to intercept the viruses before they enter the cells and multiply.

According to experts, RNA vaccines could neither change the genome of humans nor provoke false immune responses. The chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) of the Robert Koch Institute, Thomas Mertens, explains: "Although the vaccine is manufactured using genetic engineering methods, there is no change in the genome of the vaccinated person - and that is hard to imagine."

The vaccine is usually given by injection into a muscle in the upper arm. Advantages: The position is easy to reach. And the active ingredient stays in the muscle for a few hours, which gives the body time to recognize it and react to it.

How does a vector vaccine work?

The corona vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and also the agent from Astrazeneca are so-called vector vaccines. With this type of vaccine, DNA parts of the coronavirus are built into so-called carrier viruses and the carrier virus is used as a means of transport. It's called a vector. This vector is harmless to humans. In this case, the carrier virus contains the genetic information of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is introduced into the cells of the vaccinated person.

As a result, antibodies are produced by the human immune cells. If the real coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 penetrates the body later, the immune system can start a defense reaction much faster and eliminate the viruses.

Such vaccinations are already used against dengue fever and Ebola.

How long does the vaccination last?

This is unclear because there are no long-term studies yet. It is considered unlikely that a vaccination against corona will protect you for a lifetime. It could be more that you have to repeat it regularly, as with the flu vaccination.

Even a Covid 19 illness that has been overcome does not protect against renewed infection in the long term.

When will we have vaccinated nationwide in Germany?

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reckons that around two thirds of the population will need to be immunized to stop the spread of Corona (although those who already have the disease can also develop a certain immunity have survived).

The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes that 60 to 70 percent of the population would have to be vaccinated. Only then can the virus no longer spread well. It is also important that effective vaccines are used around the world.

With its 83 million inhabitants, Germany will have to deal with Corona for even longer.

Will there be compulsory vaccination?

Health Minister Jens Spahn and Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht have always said that there should be no compulsory vaccination in Germany.

Even if one should think about it, lawyers assume that this can only take place on the basis of serious reasons and with a very precisely defined group of people. A theoretical possibility are, for example, people who are in constant contact with high-risk groups.

Can I choose a vaccine?

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn ruled this out for a long time "at the moment and foreseeable" at the beginning of January. For the time being, there is no freedom of choice as to which of the different vaccines is administered. One reason are the currently scarce vaccination doses.

Can providers request proof of vaccination for access / services?

In November, the Qantas airline announced that it would only take vaccinated people on board. It may well be that countries design entry requirements in such a way that you have to show vaccinations there.

  • For the German state, e.g. for authorities, a general prohibition of discrimination applies.
  • For private providers For goods and services, however, it is also conceivable for us that they make certain specifications and link participation to a vaccination certificate.

There has never been anything like it before - and legally it is tricky, at least for data protection reasons. In our opinion, it cannot be the case that, for example, you have to present your vaccination card, which also contains other sensitive data.

It will also very much depend on whether the measure is proportionate in the specific case. It would be important, for example, whether people who have been vaccinated are no longer contagious to others.

In our opinion, a provider would have to meet the condition before the conclusion of the contract make it clear. For example, anyone who has already bought admission tickets before such a regulation may not be excluded retrospectively.

Facilitation for vaccinated / convalescent

For Completely Those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered from Corona will relax the corona rules. The regulations of the corresponding ordinance should already be on the weekend of 8./9. May come into force. The regulation provides that they equated with people who tested negative become.

You can find detailed information on this in our article on the subject.

Beware of fraud

Consumers are unsettled by fraudulent SMS from incorrect parcel services when they Short messages from vaccination or testing centers receive. They also work with links in SMS and sometimes ask for personal data such as name, address and date of birth. This can be important, for example, to determine whether it is your turn to have a vaccination and to arrange a personal appointment for you.

If you are unsure, you should not tap the links in such SMS messages either. Instead, call up the website of the test or vaccination center or your state government you are familiar with in a browser and log in with your access data.

Unregistered Corona tests at your doorstep or vaccines to buy yourself? The Ministry of the Interior and the North Rhine-Westphalia police warn against such and other scams. The police give the following tips against fraud:

  • Don't get involved in a lengthy conversation on the phone with an alleged vaccine seller, but hang up immediately.
  • Do not let strangers into your home. Order strangers again at a later point in time when someone you trust is present.
  • Defend yourself vigorously against intrusive visitors, speak to them loudly, or call for help. In the event of an acute threat, call the police at 110.
  • Report such incidents to your police. You can find an overview of the Internet watchdogs in the federal states here.