What are vaccines exactly?
Vaccines aren’t magic barriers. They don’t kill the virus or pathogen they target. Rather, vaccines stimulate a person’s immune system to create antibodies. These antibodies are specific against the virus or pathogen for the vaccine and allow the body to fight infection before it takes hold and causes severe disease.
How a person responds to a vaccine is impacted by a number of host factors, including our age, gender, medications, diet, exercise, health and stress levels.It’s not easy to tell who hasn’t developed a strong enough immune response to the vaccine.
Why you can still get it
“Breakthrough cases” occur when you contract the virus when fully vaccinated. These cases occur as no vaccine is 100% effective. Being fully vaccinated doesn’t mean you are immune to COVID-19.
Carriers of the disease might also be more infectious than others, presenting symptoms that transmit a higher “viral load” of the virus. Unvaccinated individuals have a higher chance of spreading Covid-19 to those vaccinated as they don’t have the antibodies that will prevent them from developing these symptoms.
Why you don’t need to worry
The vaccine's purpose is twofold, preventing infection and minimising symptoms if infected. When it comes to preventing infection it means that you will be less likely to be infected and to infect others. Studies estimate that those who were vaccinated with either Pfizer or AstraZeneca were 50% less likely to pass it on to an unvaccinated household contact than someone who wasn’t vaccinated.
While breakthrough cases are possible, vaccination greatly reduces the risk that you develop severe symptoms. The vaccine cannot single-handedly erase the virus, but it will reduce its impacts on society in time.
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