Vaccination and COVID-19

This text provides information in simple language on the subject of vaccination and COVID-19.

What is a vaccination?

A vaccination protects you from infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens. Pathogens are for example:

  • bacteria
  • Viruses

Are you getting a vaccination against a disease? Then you can no longer get this disease so easily. Your body can fight off the pathogen better. Usually you will not get sick.

What happens with a vaccination?

If you have been vaccinated, your doctor will give you a vaccine. There are different types of vaccines. This is because the vaccine can contain several things:

  • The vaccine contains parts of the pathogen
  • the vaccine contains dead pathogens
  • or the vaccine no longer contains harmful pathogens.

You will be given the vaccine in a syringe. Or you can get the vaccine as an oral solution. Did you have a vaccination? Then your body builds antibodies against the pathogens from the vaccine. The technical term for antibodies is: antibodies.

Does your body come into contact with these pathogens again later? Are you in contact with a sick person? Then the antibodies in your body recognize the pathogen. The antibodies in your body can then quickly stop the pathogen. That means: you usually do not get the disease and stay healthy.

Why are vaccinations important?

Vaccinations are important for two reasons:

1. You protect yourself.

Have you had a vaccination against a disease? Then you can usually no longer get this disease.

2. You protect other people.

Infectious diseases can spread very quickly. You are sick? Then you can infect other people. These people then also get sick.

Many people have had a vaccination? Then these people stay healthy. And these people don't infect anyone.

Note: Not all people can get a vaccination. There can be various reasons for this. These people cannot protect themselves. It is therefore important for these people: Many other people get vaccinated. Then the risk for these people is lower.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

The infectious disease COVID-19 is spreading very quickly. That is why many scientists are looking for a vaccine against COVID-19. The scientists are currently testing different types of vaccines. A vaccine against COVID-19 has been available in Germany since December 21, 2020. This is why some people can now be vaccinated against COVID-19. First, the risk groups are vaccinated against COVID-19. These people include, for example:

  • People aged 80 and over
  • People in old people's homes and nursing homes
  • medical staff

Scientists around the world are looking for more vaccines against COVID-19.

How is a vaccine approved?

Scientists have found a possible vaccine? Then the scientists have to observe many rules. For example, the rules say: the vaccine must be tested well. The tests are divided into four phases:

1. First, the scientists test the vaccine on animals. The scientists want to know:

  • Do the animals produce antibodies from the vaccine?
  • Can the antibodies stop the pathogen?

2. The scientists then test the vaccine on very few people. These people need to be healthy. The scientists want to know:

  • Do the test subjects tolerate the vaccine?
  • Are there any side effects?

3. Then the scientists test the vaccine on a larger group of people. There are up to 1,000 people in this group. The scientists want to know:

  • Does the vaccine make antibodies in human bodies?
  • How much vaccine does a person need?

4. The scientists then test the vaccine on an even larger group of people. There are up to 10,000 people in this group. The scientists want to know:

  • Does the vaccine safely protect against the disease?
  • How long does the vaccine protect against the disease?

Did the vaccine pass all tests? Then the vaccine will be approved. That means: everyone can get the vaccine.

How can risk groups protect themselves?

For some people, illness with COVID-19 can be very difficult. These people include:

  • elderly
  • People with previous illnesses
  • People with an immunodeficiency

Do you belong to a risk group? And do you want to protect yourself against COVID-19? Then talk to your doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about possible vaccinations.

You may need a vaccination against pneumococci. Pneumococci are bacteria. The bacteria can migrate to the lungs. There they can cause pneumonia.

Are you getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumococci? Then a disease with COVID-19 is often less severe.

Would you like a vaccination against the flu or against pneumococci? Then call your family doctor. The family doctor tells you: You have to do this now.

Warning: you don't want to get infected with the new corona virus? Then keep your distance from other people. Wear a full face mask. Wash your hands regularly.

Where can you get more information?

Would you like to read more about vaccinations and COVID-19? You can find more information here (Vaccination / Vaccines Corona Virus). Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.

immune system