Why are people still catching Covid-19 with the vaccine? It’s a question which has got a few of us confused.

First of all, it is important to know that the vaccine is not a cure and won’t necessarily stop you from catching the virus. No vaccine is 100 percent effective. However, being vaccinated does lessen the likelihood of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19.  

To understand why you can still get Covid-19 while vaccinated, we have to look at the vaccine itself. 

New Zealand currently uses the Pfizer vaccine for the majority of our Covid vaccinations. The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have also been approved but are not in use. They will be used further through the vaccine rollout. 

The Pfizer vaccine works by stimulating your body's immune system to help fight the virus. The vaccine contains small bits of genetic code called spike proteins. These proteins are similar to the ones found protruding from the surface of the actual Covid-19 virus. It is not the actual virus so there is no chance of catching Covid-19 through vaccination. It also contains a range of different types of fat, salt and sugars. Just to clarify, there are no microchips, animal products, DNA, preservatives or fetal material. 

Once injected with the vaccine, our immune system is stimulated by the spike protein to produce antibodies. These antibodies will break down the protein. This means if you do get exposed to the actual virus, your body understands how to fight against it using these antibodies.

A booster shot six or more weeks later gives your immune system further protection by repeating this process. However, complete protection is not guaranteed - which is why you can still get Covid while fully vaccinated. Essentially, if your antibodies aren't strong enough to fight the virus you’ll still get infected. But the likelihood of getting really sick is less 

Recent research also showed that 95 percent of vaccinated people did not fall seriously ill after becoming infected, some don't even show symptoms at all. 

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