There are both similarities and differences between the COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine. The fundamental principles apply:
The differences between the COVID-19 and flu vaccine are also notable:
Precautions including masking, hand washing and physical distancing are beneficial to stopping the spread of either the COVID-19 or flu viruses.
Each year, a new flu vaccine is created to target viruses expected to be more common that year. Manufacturers confirm with Health Canada that the vaccine contains the World Health Organization’s recommended strains for the northern hemisphere.
To create a flu vaccine, the chosen influenza viruses are incubated and then rendered inactive before being incorporated into the vaccine, with the exception of a nasal spray that contains a live virus that has been weakened to prevent the development of disease. The body recognizes the inactivated/weakened-live virus as foreign and responds by developing immunity.
The COVID-19 vaccine differs in that it is targeted specifically to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines introduce a spike protein that is found on the outside of the virus, so that your body can develop an immune response to that protein.
The vaccines may work in different ways, but the single most important thing to remember is that vaccines prevent or reduce severe illness and death. Getting immunized makes all the difference for yourself, your loved ones and your community.
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