What is a coronavirus vaccine?

A corona vaccine protects you against coronavirus.
The vaccine is injected into your upper arm.
After the vaccination, you have a smaller chance of becoming ill from the virus.

What happens in your body?

The vaccine causes your body to make antibodies against the virus.
If you come into contact with the virus after the vaccination, your body will recognise the virus
and know how to kill it quickly, preventing you from becoming really ill, if at all.

We do not yet know how long the vaccine protects against coronavirus.

Is it safe?

The vaccines were made faster than usual.
That is because people all over the world worked together on a vaccine.
No steps were skipped. That is not possible, as the rules for making a vaccine are very strict.
When the vaccines were ready, they were tested.

The vaccines have been approved by the European organisation EMA,
of which the Dutch organisation CBG is a member.

Side effects

As with other vaccines, you may develop complaints after the vaccination. These are called side effects.
You may suffer from:

  • a sore arm at the injection site;
  • a headache;
  • being tired;
  • muscle ache;
  • fever.

These symptoms usually only last 1 to 3 days.
The symptoms after the second injection can be a little worse than the first time.

We will only really know for sure in a few years, but the chance of long-term side effects is very small.

If you experience serious side effects from the vaccination, please call your GP.

Who is the vaccine meant for?

In the Netherlands, everyone 18 and older will receive an invitation for the vaccination.

It is not possible to vaccinate everyone at the same time.
You will receive an invitation letter at home when it’s your turn.

There are several vaccines.
You cannot choose which one you get.

When not to have the vaccine?

Call your GP if you:

  • previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccination;
  • had a severe allergic reaction after the first injection;

You should postpone your vaccination and make a new appointment if you:

  • are very ill on the day of the vaccination
  • have a fever of 38 degrees or higher
  • have corona
  • have common corona-related symptoms
  • have had a corona test and don’t have the results yet
  • have been in contact with someone with corona


If you are pregnant, you should postpone your vaccination until after the pregnancy.
If you have a disease that makes you extra vulnerable to coronavirus, vaccination may still be recommended. Call your GP to discuss what is best for you.

After the vaccination

After the vaccination, you must still follow the general coronavirus guidelines, such as washing your hands and social distancing.
If you get coronavirus symptoms, have yourself tested.

We do not know if you can still get sick from or spread coronavirus
after vaccination.

Heb je andere vragen over het Corona-virus:

Bel dan 0800-1351

Deze begrijpelijke informatie is gebaseerd op de adviezen van Rijksoverheid.nl en informatie van het CBG. De informatie is getest met taalambassadeurs van Stichting ABC.
24 maart 2021 – versie 2

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