Here are some common questions about the Covid-19 Vaccine. Please feel free to discuss any questions you may have with our trained staff during your Vaccine appointments.
What’s the process?
When you arrive for your vaccine appointment, you’ll need to bring your consent form with you. If you haven’t received one, they will be provided to you when you arrive. Once one of our nurses has checked you in for your appointment, you will be guided to a private room to receive your vaccine dose.
For the vaccine to be most effective, people are required to receive two doses around three weeks apart.
Once you’ve received your dose, you will be required to remain at the mobile unit for around 20 minutes for observation of any possible negative reactions. Hot drinks and snacks are provided.
Why is getting vaccinated important?
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step you can take to protect yourself, your kaumātua and whānau from the effects of the COVID-19 virus. It’s one way we can protect the welfare and wellbeing of our communities from COVID-19.
It is not mandatory for the general public. You can choose whether to get vaccinated.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine protect me?
COVID-19 can cause serious illness or death in some people. The COVID-19 vaccine stimulates your body’s immune system to produce antibodies and other proteins that will fight the virus if you’re exposed to it.
The vaccine helps prevent you from getting infected and having COVID-19 symptoms, or severe illness. This means you could have no COVID-19 symptoms or will have much fewer, milder symptoms and recover faster.
It is safe to use on pregnant women.
What is the mRNA vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) is an mRNA vaccine that contains the genetic code for an important part of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus called the ‘spike protein’. Spike proteins are the little projections on the surface of the virus.
- Once you’ve had the vaccine, your body reads the genetic code and makes copies of the spike protein.
- Your immune system detects these spike proteins and learns how to recognise and fight against COVID-19. It knows it needs to attack the virus to protect it from spreading in your body.
- The genetic code then gets broken down and removed very quickly and easily by our body.
Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
Does the vaccine affect my DNA?
Isn’t the vaccine too new to be safe?
mRNA vaccines have been developed through major international collaboration.
Researchers have studied and worked with mRNA vaccines for decades. This includes studies for vaccines against flu, Zika, rabies and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Scientists have also researched past coronavirus infections (SARS and MERS).
Once scientists identified the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, they could quickly adapt the technology for COVID-19.
Although it’s relatively new technology, this vaccine has gone through all the usual safety checks and regulations.
This includes international clinical trials to help demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is being used worldwide and continually and closely monitored for effectiveness and safety.
How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?
You’ll need two doses. The second dose is given at least three weeks later. It’s very important you get your second dose, you’ll have your best protection once you’ve had both.
Staff will observe you for at least 20 minutes after your injection. This is a precaution in case you have any immediate allergic or adverse reactions. Staff will be on hand and trained to treat these immediately.
Why do I need two doses?
How well does the second dose works?
In the early clinical trials, researchers studied how much of the mRNA to include in each dose of the Pfizer vaccine and how many doses people should have. They measured the level of antibodies in the blood that were produced after each dose.
After the first dose
After the first dose, the antibody levels were much lower compared to those seen after natural infection with COVID-19.
After the second dose
After the second dose, the antibody levels were higher than those seen after the first dose, and higher than those seen after natural infection.
What about different strains of the virus?
Some companies have indicated they may make changes to the vaccine to make sure they work properly. This is similar to the regular changes made to the influenza vaccine.
What’s in the Pfizer vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) is a mRNA-based (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine.
It does not contain any live, dead or deactivated viruses. There are no animal products in this vaccine.
Summary of ingredients
- The Pfizer vaccine contains:
messenger RNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
- lipid nanoparticle – a stabilised fat-based bubble to protect and carry the mRNA into our cells
- salt buffers – to maintain the pH of the vaccine
- sucrose – to protect the vaccine while in storage.
What to know more about the COVID-19 Vaccine? You can visit these Ministry of Health pages online.
About the Vaccine
Information about the Covid-19 Vaccine, helath information and statistics.
Learn what possible side effects you may encounter after receiving the Covid-19 Vaccine.