FAQ on the Covid-19 Vaccination

Vaccination protection

Why should I get vaccinated? Is wearing a mask not enough?

Getting vaccinated is a personal decision and people who get vaccinated do so for different reasons. However, vaccination is the most effective way to protect those around you from getting infected and to help ensure that the pandemic will end in the foreseeable future.

Wearing masks and social distancing are important measures to protect yourself from infection with coronavirus or to prevent passing it on. However, these measures are not always possible. Vaccination is needed for a return to normality.

How can my personal vaccination protect others?

Vaccination significantly reduces the probability of becoming infected with coronavirus. If vaccinated people do get infected, the symptoms are usually very mild. Thus, vaccination effectively protects against severe cases of Covid-19. If only mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 occurs, there is usually only a very low viral load, so passing on the virus is less likely.

How well am I protected by the vaccination?

Two weeks after the first vaccination dose, the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine offers protection of about 30% to 50% (depending on the variant), which increases to over 90% one to two weeks after the second vaccination according to current data. How long the built-up immune response against Covid-19 remains effective is currently unclear, but is being closely monitored.

Can vaccination really prevent severe symptoms?

Yes. If vaccinated people are infected, they usually experience only very mild symptoms. Getting vaccinated thus effectively protects against severe cases of Covid-19.

Why should I get vaccinated if I can still get the disease?

Vaccinated people rarely get infected with coronavirus. If vaccinated people are infected, the course of infection is usually very mild. Vaccination therefore effectively protects against severe disease. In addition, the probability of transmitting the virus to other people is reduced.

Can I ignore previous hygiene measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing after my vaccination?

No, absolutely not. Even after the second vaccination dose, the usual rules of conduct and hygiene recommended by the FOPH must be observed. In addition, you should behave as if you had not been vaccinated until two weeks after you have been fully vaccinated.

Does the vaccination also protect against the virus mutations like Delta+?

The mRNA vaccines licensed in Switzerland provide very good protection against the Delta variant when fully vaccinated. However, with only one vaccination dose and without having previously had Covid-19, there is less protection than with other coronavirus variants.

Vaccine & Registration

The vaccine was approved very quickly. Is it still safe?

The Swissmedic-approved Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna are considered very safe. They have been widely tested in large trials and have now also been administered to millions of people in many countries. Swissmedic has tested the vaccine in an ordinary procedure (no emergency approval as in other countries), i.e. like all other vaccines approved in Switzerland. Serious side effects are extremely rare, including severe allergic reactions shortly after vaccination.

Will vaccination change my DNA?

No. The Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology. In this process, part of the messenger RNA (mRNA) of the virus is used for the vaccine. This partial mRNA contains the blueprint for a surface protein of the coronavirus, a so-called “spike protein”. Using this blueprint, the body of the vaccinated person produces this protein itself. This protein, which is harmless to the body, simulates an infection and calls up the immune defense. The antibodies of the body’s immune system then prevent coronavirus from multiplying in the body in the event of an actual infection.

All components of the vaccine and also the protein produced by the body are completely broken down. Since only a surface protein and not the virus itself is produced, no viral replication can occur as a result of the vaccination. The mRNA is rapidly degraded and cannot penetrate the cell nucleus or the genes (DNA).

This technology has been researched for many years. Its use for vaccines is new. However, there are already drugs that are based on this principle and are already in use today.

Is there a risk of becoming infertile due to the vaccination?

No, this fear is completely unfounded. It is a rumor that is often spread on social media. There are no indications that vaccination or infection with coronavirus affect the fertility of women or men in any way.

Does the vaccine contain harmful substances?

The mRNA vaccines licensed in Switzerland contain mRNA, lipids, various salts and sucrose. Compared to other vaccines, it contains no adjuvants (e.g., aluminum). In very rare cases, the polyethylene glycol (PEG) contained in the Pfizer/BionTech and Moderna vaccines, as well as tromethamine in the Moderna vaccine, are known to cause allergic reactions.

What about dangerous long-term effects of vaccination?

Since the vaccines have only been in use for a short time, there are no long-term studies on side effects. However, it is very unlikely that any should occur. Experience with vaccines shows that long-term effects hardly ever occur.

Don’t the risks of Covid vaccination outweigh its benefits?

The opposite is true: the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks, both for the individual and for society. Vaccination is safe, it protects against infection to a very high degree, almost always prevents severe cases, and massively reduces the risk that the virus will be passed on. In addition, vaccination is the only measure that can end the pandemic. In contrast, there are usually mild side effects (“Covid arm”, 1 to 3 days of mild fever). However, whether you want to get vaccinated is a personal decision. It is therefore important that everyone weighs up the risks and benefits for themselves.

Getting information on Covid-19 and the vaccination

It can be difficult to get trustworthy information about Covid-19 and vaccination. Which sources can I trust?

Information coming from the authorities (Federal Office of Public Health, Swissmedic, Federal Commission for Vaccination) can be trusted. Their information is based on scientific evidence and draw on the knowledge and findings of a large number of scientists from a wide range of disciplines who advise the authorities, as well as on international recommendations. Information in social media, on the other hand, should be challenged and double-checked.

Where does your information come from?

Our information comes from studies that are peer-reviewed and appear in renowned scientific journals. These scientific findings are generally in line with the scientific consensus. However, there are always dissenting opinions. Moreover, coronavirus is new, research is ongoing, and new findings are being published and previous ones revised. This is the essence of science, that knowledge is constantly reviewed and revised if necessary.