COVID-19 vaccination – Video – Professor James Ward: How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

In this video, Professor James Ward explains how COVID-19 vaccines work, and addresses some common misconceptions about the vaccines.


So how does the COVID-19 vaccine work? This is a very basic way. In Australia, we have very strict procedures around the safety of our vaccines. Our regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, only approves the vaccines that are safe and effective. And everyone giving the vaccine has been through a specialised training.

What you need to know first is that the vaccine is not a live virus. So having the vaccine won’t cause you to get COVID-19. Vaccines can contain either killed or weakened versions of the virus. Some will contain a small part of the virus, such as a protein. The COVID-19 vaccine works like any other vaccine, for example the flu vaccine. It enters your body, your body recognises the virus, or parts of it, and mounts an immune response to it. The body will then remember the virus so your body can react to it and you’ll be less likely to get sick from COVID-19.

If you do see information on social media or anywhere else about the vaccine, check where that information is coming from. Can you trust that information? And is it coming from medically trained professionals or from the community controlled health sector? Have a yarn to your local health service if you’re worried.

To find out where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your local healthcare worker, or visit

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