IMMUNISATIONS AND THE COVID-19 VACCINE
With an increase in information and public discussion about the COVID -19 Vaccination Programme, its important that our whānau have access to information that supports their right to make informed and confident decisions.
The Immune System – the body’s defense against infection
How do our bodies fight infection?
When germs, like the virus that cause COVID-19 invade our bodies, they attack and muliply. This infection is what causes illness. Our immune system uses several germ-fighting tools to fight the infection, but it can take several days or weeks for our bodies to make these tools, which means we can get sick in the meantime.
After an infection, our immune system remembers what it learnt to protect the body against that same disease next time.
The body keeps a few T-lymphocytes, called “memory cells”, that can quickly respond to clear the infection and limit the damage to our bodie if the body meets the same virus again.
You might have heard peope talk about these antibodies to describe whether a COVID-19 case was an ‘historical case’.
How the COVID -19 Vaccines work
COVID -19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity (the bodies memory of the infection) to the virus that causes COVID -19 without us having to get the illness.
It takes a few week for the body to develop immunity after the vaccination.
Sometimes, after vaccination, the process of building immunity might cause symptoms such as pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, fever and muscle aches.
The different kinds of Vaccines that will be used in New Zealand
One COVID -19 vaccine, an mRNA vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech ComirnatyTM), is avilable in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The bottom line
Getting vaccinated is one of many steps you can take to protect you and your whānau from COVID -19. Protection from COVID -19 through vaccination is really important because for some people, catching this disease can cause severe illness or death
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available
Vaccines work with our immune system to help your body respond quickly and clear the virus if you are exposed.
Other steps like physical distancing, washing your hands, cleaning surfaces and wearing masks on public transport and in situations where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing will help reduce your chance of catching this virus.
Together the COVID -19 vaccines and other public health measures will offer us the best protection against COVID -19.