On this page you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about mRNA vaccines.
The vaccines against COVID-19 have already been thoroughly tested during their development and then carefully reviewed by Swissmedic experts. Only vaccines that have been shown to be safe, effective and of high quality are authorised in Switzerland.
The mRNA vaccines have already been administered to billions of people worldwide. Therapeutic products authorities are monitoring the safety of the vaccines around the world, even after their market launch, and there is extensive sharing of information. The risks of a coronavirus infection continue to outweigh those of a recommended COVID-19 vaccine.
Switzerland only authorises vaccines whose efficacy has been proved. The vaccine manufacturers have completed preclinical and clinical trials to investigate their efficacy and safety. While no vaccine is 100% effective and people may become infected despite being vaccinated, current data show that these infections in vaccinated individuals are usually mild and of short duration. The vaccines continue to be extremely effective against severe COVID-19 disease (e.g. hospitalisation or death) and very effective against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
A vaccination is a highly effective method for protecting your health. The COVID-19 vaccines give the immune system instructions on how to detect the virus and ward off an outbreak of the disease. You can find more detailed information in our explanatory videos on vaccines:
No, quite the opposite. The course of the illness in the event of infection is highly individual and unpredictable. In addition, long-term consequences can persist for weeks and months after infection with COVID-19, and can negatively affect physical and mental health.
The vaccination mobilises the body's natural defences and thereby prevents severe forms of the illness, which can cause permanent damage to health. The vaccination works together with the body and its natural defences: by getting to know the virus, the body learns how to protect itself against an outbreak of the disease in case you are infected later on.
We are unable to answer this question due to the repeated mutations. Findings from current studies show that efficacy against the Omicron variants after two doses of vaccine is low overall and declines significantly over time. However, vaccination continues to offer good protection against severe disease. The protective effect can be improved with a booster.
The question as to whether vaccination against COVID-19 also reduces virus transmission has to be assessed with each new coronavirus variant. The FCV and FOPH assume that despite vaccination, there is transmission of the Omicron subvariants of the virus that have been dominant since the end of 2021. However, boosters continue to protect against a severe course of disease.
If you experience side effects after the COVID-19 vaccination, contact the healthcare professional that vaccinated you or your doctor. Your doctor knows you and your medical history and will be able to give you professional advice. Moreover, she/he has a reporting obligation towards Swissmedic and will inform us about adverse drug reactions.
No, the messenger RNA provides your cells with information about the surface characteristics of the virus so that the body can then prepare the immune response that will be triggered in the event of any future contact. Since the mRNA does not enter the protected cell nucleus (which is where your genetic material is located), it does not interact with your DNA at any time.
Since the long-term data from the clinical trials were not yet finalised at the time of authorisation, the vaccines have been given temporary authorisation for a period of two years. An ordinary authorisation requires long-term data, and the vaccine manufacturers have continued to provide further data. A decision will be taken on lifting the temporary authorisation after the data have been reviewed, which is defined as a condition of the ordinary authorisation.
Across the world, science and industry have worked together to focus on the development of vaccines. Research and development resources were pooled and used in a targeted manner to produce a vaccine against the coronavirus. As regards vaccine manufacture, various development phases could be carried out at the same time, which helped to accelerate the process.
Swissmedic does not issue vaccination recommendations as this is the responsibility of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV).
The common side effects include:
- reactions at the injection site such as pain, redness and swelling;
- headaches, tiredness;
- muscle and joint pains;
- general symptoms such as shivering, feeling feverish or actual fever
The medicinal product information at swissmedicinfo.ch includes the latest knowledge on potential side effects.
The vaccine has no effect on fertility. No antibodies against the placenta are formed as a result of vaccination. The body's immune response against the coronavirus is triggered by the vaccination. This immune response is targeted very specifically against the coronavirus and has no impact on fertility.
Nor does the vaccination have any adverse effects on you or your child if you are breastfeeding.
No. The COVID-19 vaccines are not infectious and do not contain any viruses. After vaccination, no viruses are produced or shed. It is not possible for a vaccine, its constituents or coronaviruses to be transmitted from vaccinated to unvaccinated individuals as a result of vaccination.