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What is really in the Covid-19 vaccine? What are the most serious side effects? How does the mutation first observed in the UK affect vaccination?
These are some of the dozens of questions on the vaccination process asked on Tuesday evening during a webinar organised by the Robert Schuman Hospitals. Some were greeted with little empathy by infectious disease expert Dr Gérard Schockmel, for example a woman who asked whether those who will be vaccinated can be likened to laboratory mice.
There is a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine. There have been around 30 such authorisations in Europe between 2006 and 2016. To date, none of them have been withdrawn and this has the advantage that a vaccine or drug is simply available more quickly.
The speed with which the vaccine has suddenly become available can be explained by several factors, according to Dr Schockmel. First, it was due to the unprecedented global collaboration of universities, industries, and government authorities.
Secondly, it is important to take last week's report by the WHO, the World Health Organisation, seriously. The organisation says that even if someone is vaccinated, they can still carry the virus. In concrete terms, this means that if the vaccine does not work properly, which is the case for example for at least 5% of patients who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the vaccinated person can still have the virus and transmit it. It is therefore important for the general public to understand that even after the imminent vaccination phase, the primary social distancing measures, such as keeping a safe distance, washing and disinfecting hands, and the obligation to wear a mask, must be maintained.
The webinar with Dr Gérard Schockmel (in French and Luxembourgish):