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Covid-19: The Virus and The Vaccine

Will the vaccine stop you catching the virus coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)?

Vaccines are not designed to stop you coming into contact or catching a virus. Their aim is to reduce the symptoms and signs of the associated illness. In this case it is the virus coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting illness called COVID-19.

Vaccines essentially work by, for want of a better word, ‘priming’ your immune system, so that when you come into contact with a virus your immune system is able to react more quickly.

It is hoped that by your immune system reacting more quickly you will not go on to developing an illness with its associated symptoms and signs such as fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or shortness of breath. These symptoms may lead on to ill health, hospitalisation and in some cases death.

With your immune system responding more quickly, it is hoped that the virus does not make it to the cells in your body where it can replicate itself, effectively turning you into a manufacturing plant. When you are manufacturing virus you are contagious, and you will more than likely have symptoms and signs and be ill. 

By either stopping the virus reach the cells, in the case of coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) it is your lung cells, or responding very quickly, the damage to the lung cells will either be avoided or reduced.

By stopping the virus from replicating/being manufactured there will be less virus in our environment. This means that less people will become exposed to it, and if they have been either vaccinated of have come into contact with it naturally then the virus will hopefully be unable to replicate. Over time the virus will die out.

So even though you may have had the vaccine, it will not stop you coming into contact with the virus. It will hopefully stop you becoming ill, needing to go to hospital or dying and it will stop you from manufacturing it.

This article is written by Karen Robinson our Clinical Director.