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General questions

How do the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccines work?

The updated bivalent vaccines work in the same way as the original vaccines, by preparing the body to defend itself against COVID-19. Each vaccine contains molecules called mRNA, which have instructions for making the spike proteins of the original SARS-CoV-2 and the Omicron subvariant. The spike protein is a protein on the surface of the virus, which the virus needs to enter the body’s cells, and can differ between variants of the virus. By adapting vaccines, the aim is to broaden protection against different COVID-19 virus variants.

When a person is given one of these vaccines, some of their cells will read the mRNA instructions and temporarily produce the spike proteins. The person’s immune system will then recognize those proteins as foreign and activate natural defences — antibodies and T-cells — against them.

If, later on, the vaccinated person comes into contact with the virus, the immune system will recognize the spike protein on its surface and be prepared to attack it. The antibodies and immune cells can protect against COVID-19 by working together to kill the virus, preventing its entry into the body’s cells and destroying infected cells.

The mRNA molecules from the vaccines do not stay in the body but are broken down shortly after vaccination.

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COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination explained – Introduction

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Vaccines protect against severe COVID-19 disease.

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Why are some vaccinated people also hospitalized with COVID-19?

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How could vaccines be developed at record speed while still maintaining quality and safety?

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What are clinical trials and are they enough to prove a vaccine is safe?

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How do mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, work?

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How do vector vaccines work?

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How should we respond to claims that the mRNA vaccines could cause a genetic change and that we will see this in the coming decades?

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How do inactivated vaccines work?

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How do protein-based vaccines work?

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What tests or examinations should people get before COVID-19 vaccination?

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Can a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus cause more severe disease?

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Why should older adults get vaccinated?

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Omicron is generally less severe than previous variants – does it still make sense to vaccinate children?

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Should children aged 5-11 get a booster dose?

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If COVID-19 becomes endemic will vaccination still be needed?

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Why is it necessary to stay in the healthcare facility 15-30 minutes following COVID-19 vaccination?

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Is it possible to catch COVID-19 during an immunization visit to a healthcare facility?

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What are the so-called COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines?

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What is the recommended use of updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines?

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How do the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccines work?

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