Questions and answers about vaccination

Registration and reservation

How can I register?
There are two steps to register for covid-19 vaccination. Both can be done at the portal crs.mzcr.cz.

The first step is registration, at the start of which you enter your telephone number. You will receive an SMS with PIN1 verification code. After entering this code, fill in your personal data and choose the covid-19 vaccination center where you want to be vaccinated.
The registration for covid-19 vaccination is carried out through the Central reservation system: crs.mzcr.cz.

The second step is booking a covid-19 vaccination appointment. When an appointment is available at the chosen covid-19 vaccination center, you will receive an invitation SMS with a PIN2 code. After entering this code, you can choose from the available date(s) and time(s) and proceed to book your first covid-19 vaccination appointment. Your second covid-19 vaccination appointment is generated automatically for the same time and day 6 weeks later (42 days, i.e. in accordance with the official covid-19 vaccination interval for Comirnaty/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines)..
You can reserve a covid-19 vaccinationappointment after registration at the link: rezervace.mzcr.cz.
The covid-19 vaccination appointment booking must be made within 48 hours after receiving your PIN2.
Reservation without an invitation SMS is not possible.

I am registered. I did not receive PIN2 code. How long will I wait?
Registration is an important step towards getting covid-19 vaccination appointment. A sufficient number of covid-19 vaccines have been ordered for all the residents of the Czech Republic. You will receive an invitation to book a covid-19 vaccination appointment once the vaccine doses are available at the vaccination center of your choice. This depends on the supplies of vaccine to the Czech Republic and the number of persons in queue before you. We are unable to estimate how long it may take before you can reserve an appointment. However, you do not have to worry about there not being enough vaccine.
You can track the capacity of covid-19 vaccination centers in the vaccination center capacity report.

Is it possible to be vaccinated without any being registered?
Yes, it is possible. The list of vaccination centres with no regsitration needed can be found here. You have to choose an option Typ očkovacího místaBez registrace a rezervace.

Have you recovered from covid-19 and want to register or have already registered for covid-19 vaccination ?  
If you have suffered covid-19, it is not a contradiction to vaccination. After your self-isolation is finished, you can get vaccinated.

How can I change the place to receive the second dose of the vaccine?
You have a right to choose your healthcare provider. The client chooses his provider in general. Hence, the place for both vaccines is the same.


Priority covid-19 vaccination

How does priority work within the Central reservation system?
The system works on basis of registration time. That is the way how all age categories can be vaccinated.


For those interested in covid-19 vaccination

Who can get covid-19 vaccinated right now?
Persons over 12 years of age.

Will everybody have a chance to get covid-19 vaccinated?
Yes. The Czech Republic has ordered enough covid-19 vaccines for all of its residents.

Who is covid-19 vaccination suitable for?
All covid-19 vaccines are developed primarily for adults, secondarily they were approved for people older than 12 years of age. In order to acquire collectively immunity, it is necessary to vaccinate 65-70% of the population.
Collectively immunity is most effectively and quickly achieved only through vaccination. Arbitrary herd immunization would result in far too many victims, with the constant threat of collapse of the healthcare system.  

How much will covid-19 vaccination cost?
Covid-19 vaccination is non-mandatory and free for individuals who are insured in public healthcare system of the Czech  Republic or another EU member state.

Can children get the vaccine?
Comirnaty covid-19 vaccine is designated for persons 12 years or older, Moderna covid-19 vaccine for persons 12 years or older. AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine is for persons 18 years or older, as is Janssen vaccine.

Why get covid-19 vaccinated?
Vaccines against covid-19 are medicines that prevent the illness caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, by causing an immune response to the virus. covid-19 can cause a serious disease with potential, as yet unknown long-term consequences or death in persons of any age, including otherwise healthy people.
Vaccination is the most effective way to stop the epidemic spreading here and in the world over the long term. The introduction of vaccines in the past has helped to reduce or even eradicate a number of diseases (e.g. smallpox, polio, diphtheria).
The application of a vaccine is a path towards the prevention of a serious or even fatal illness with covid-19.
Everybody who is vaccinated helps to protect those who cannot be vaccinated because of their medical condition.
Work incapability because of covid-19 means major financial losses for a regular family. In the case of complications arising from this disease, hospitalisation is of course required, typically followed by recovery. The vaccine will prevent all this.

I contracted COVID-19 and upon examination was found to have antibodies. Should I get vaccinated or not?
According to currently available data, there is still no clear threshold of the amount of antibodies after having contracted COVID-19 that can be considered sufficiently protective against reinfection. It is currently not possible to clearly determine the rate at which the antibodies decline in individuals. It is assumed that for at least 6 months, the protection induced by the disease is sufficient. For this period, proof of having contracted COVID-19 can be regarded as a certain proof of infection-free status, similarly to a proof of vaccination or a recent PCR or antigen test. However, protection declines with increasing time since exposure to the disease. This decline is highly individual, and nobody can predict with certainty how long protection to the maximum extent possible will last. Naturally occurring protection is highly dependent on the severity of the disease, the person’s general condition, his or her genetic makeup, and the current state of the immune system. And even if laboratory testing reveals the presence of antibodies, it is impossible to say for sure whether the antibody level determined is sufficiently “protective” and how long it will be present. The antibody level is not equivalent to protection by vaccination. It is also important to know that antibody levels alone are not the only form of immunity. Another component is so-called cellular immunity, which is also sufficiently induced after vaccination. Rather than relying on antibodies, it is much safer to use vaccination to boost this already existing protection after contracting COVID-19. Experts also recommend vaccination after contracting COVID-19 because of the emergence of mutations and the spread of new coronavirus variants.            

If you have contracted COVID-19 in the past and antibodies in your blood have simultaneously been confirmed by laboratory testing, vaccination with a single-shot vaccine is sufficient to provide maximum protection against the recurrence of COVID-19 with a potentially severe course. There are only two professional reasons for antibody testing at this time. The first is to test for antibodies before the donation of convalescent plasma, and the second is to aid in the diagnosis of a person who has typical signs of a previous history of COVID-19 (e.g. x-ray findings) but was not tested for the coronavirus at the onset of the disease. Antibody testing prior to vaccination is not warranted.  

Can the vaccine cause infertility?
Linking the COVID-19 vaccine to subsequent infertility is another piece of alarmist information currently circulating. The basis for this information is the claim that vaccines contain, among other things, genetic information leading to the production of antibodies against a protein that is essential for placental formation (syncytin-1). Thus, those opposed to the vaccine claim that these antibodies will cause the protein to become inactive, resulting in a non-functioning placenta and infertility. In fact, this is not the case. It is true that the parts of the genetic information of the protein on the surface of the coronavirus (called the spike protein), which is presented to the body through vaccines to create protection against COVID-19, are identical to the syncytin-1 protein. This is not rare among proteins, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they are the same or very similar. It can be likened to a situation where we have two cars with two license plates, e.g. 2EF1234 and 2EF3456. Although the plates are similar (and even have 4 of the same characters, 3 of them in the same place), no one is likely to claim that they are the same car. Also, the “similarity” between the spike protein and syncytin-1 is not sufficient to cause a so-called cross-immune reaction, a condition in which the immune reaction triggered by vaccination against COVID-19 disease also attacks syncytin-1 and thus causes infertility. Also, studies in the US have shown that the placentas of women who were vaccinated against COVID-19 showed no differences compared to the placentas of unvaccinated women.         

This argument can also be confirmed by the experience of people who have contracted COVID-19. If antibodies against the spike protein could also attack syncytin-1, then people who have had COVID-19 should also suffer from infertility to an increased extent, because after contracting the disease there are antibodies against the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus.  However, fertility disorders after COVID-19 infection have not been reported. There is no reason to believe that the immune response against the spike protein induced by the viral infection is different from the immune response induced by the vaccine. Thus, the concern about infertility after vaccination can be considered to be unfounded.   

Can the vaccine cause an autoimmune disease?
There are many myths making the rounds about serious health complications associated with vaccination, both against COVID-19 and other diseases. One of them is that vaccination causes autoimmune diseases. Those opposed to vaccination are causing unnecessary panic among people. But extensive scientific studies have not confirmed this assumption. When comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated groups (e.g. for the human papillomavirus vaccine), the incidence of autoimmune diseases was exactly the same in both groups. As for the COVID-19 vaccine, there is no evidence at this time that suggests otherwise.    

The cause of autoimmune diseases is still not completely clear. The complex development of autoimmune diseases can be simply described as a situation in which special cells of the human immune system begin to attack their own previously healthy cells and tissues, which can lead to damage to various organs. A number of different factors are thought to be involved in their development. Infectious diseases are described as one of these factors in many autoimmune diseases. And COVID-19 is probably no exception. The results of a number of studies suggest that some of the problems associated with COVID-19, including long-term diseases of a number of organs, can be explained by the body’s immune system mistakenly turning against the body, hence causing an autoimmune reaction. The development of an autoimmune disease is therefore often more likely to be expected after contracting COVID-19 than after vaccination against it.       

For patients who have already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended when they are stable. Any vaccination is generally not recommended at the time of an outbreak or during changes in treatment. The vaccination of persons with an autoimmune disease should always be consulted with a physician. 

I don’t know where to find any relevant information on the vaccine.
For relevant information about COVID-19 and vaccination against it, it is best to look primarily on the website of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic /, on the website of the State Institute for Drug Control: https://www.sukl.cz/covid-19, where information from the European Medicines Agency is also available, and in the package leaflets of individual vaccines, which are continuously updated: https://www.sukl.cz/pribalove-informace-k-registrovanym-vakcinam-proti-covid-19, on the government website – https://covid.gov.cz/, or on the websites of professional societies (e.g. the Czech Vaccinological Society: https://vakcinace.eu/), which also contains sections dedicated to the public. Any other sources of information can be misleading, even if they look very professional at first glance or are supported by a well-known doctor, scientist, etc.


For those covid-19 vaccinated

On the basis of what criteria can I currently obtain a certificate to prove myself in the so-called O-T-N system (V-T-D, vaccination – test – disease)?
The validity of the certificate is based on the following criteria:
1. 14 days after completing the vaccination, i.e. 14 days after a single shot of the Janssen vaccine or 14 days after the second shot of Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) or Vaxzevria (Astrazeneca). The certificate is not valid until 14 days after the vaccination (it does not glow blue in the Tečka application).
2. A period of immunity following the disease, specifically 180 days from the first test confirming COVID-19.
3. A negative result of a test performed in a healthcare facility (tests purchased at a pharmacy and performed at home do not count), where the validity of an antigen test (the result is usually known within 20 minutes) is 24 hours from the time of collection and the validity of a PCR test is 72 hours.

I am covid-19 vaccinated. How do I get my certificate?
The issued certificate serves as confirmation that you have been covid-19 vaccinated. Primarily, if you have provided your e-mail address and your telephone number in your registration for covid-19 vaccination appointment, you will receive the certificate by e-mail once your covid-19 vaccination is completed. Second option is though covid-19 vaccination portal created by
UZIS/Institute of Health Information and Statistics – ocko.uzis.cz, where each citizen can easily check their covid-19 vaccination vaccination. You can also view and download the certificate of performed covid-19 vaccination. Last but not least, you can request the certificate at your covid-19 vaccination center.


Covid-19 Vaccination of foreigners

Are foreign nationals entitled to covid-19 vaccination?

Foreign nationals insured within the Czech public health insurance system (e.g. because they perform gainful activity or based on European coordination regulations) are entitled to free covid-19 vaccination under the same conditions as Czech citizens. These persons register using their insurance ID number or assigned personal number, which they obtain from any Czech health insurance company.

Foreign nationals insured in another European Union member state, who are entitled to full care in the Czech Republic (holders of claim document S1) are also entitled to free covid-19 vaccination.  These persons register using the insurance ID which they obtain after the so-called assisted registration with one of the seven Czech health insurance companies.

Both foreign nationals and Czech citizens who are entitled to essential care in the Czech Republic based on a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are also entitled. These persons register using the insurance ID which they obtain after the so-called assisted registration with one of the seven Czech health insurance companies.

Citizens of third countries with long-term residence in the Czech Republic, who do not participate in the public health insurance system and have concluded mandatory commercial insurance can also register for covid-19 vaccination, however they will need to pay for the vaccination themselves. More info can be found here.


Covid-19 Vaccines

A covid-19 vaccine has been developed in such a short time. Is it safe?
All vaccines and drugs have been developed in a standard manner for decades. This development takes on average 10-15 years and costs pharmaceutical companies several billions of crowns. Before a drug or vaccine can be used, it is necessary to conduct “preclinical” studies, which have several levels. First, substances are computer-modelled (in silico), then the newly-designed substances are tested on cells or tissue cultures (in vitro) and then on laboratory animals (in vivo). Once the expected effect of the investigated substances is confirmed in preclinical studies and their safety is proven, clinical trials are initiated. During these studies, the safety and, of course, efficacy of the drug or vaccine are further investigated. Once safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in the studies, the drug or vaccine can be registered and put into routine use. After that, the available drugs and vaccines continue to be examined and monitored. Thousands of substances enter the first phases of preclinical studies each year, but only a tiny fraction enter routine use. All these studies are necessary, very rigorous, constantly refined, and their results are traceable and controlled.

The COVID-19 pandemic represents the biggest health problem in decades. With the health and lives of everyone on the planet at stake, scientists and doctors around the world have come together to create an effective vaccine as quickly as possible. The most ideal technology was mRNA, which scientists have been researching for more than 30 years. It is therefore not a completely new technology. Thanks to technological advances in science, as well as the urgent need due to the pandemic, it was possible to “fast-track” this technology to completion. The principle of vector vaccines has also been known and researched for a long time (for many other infectious diseases). The current need to address the pandemic has led to the development of vector vaccines directly against COVID-19. Thanks to the considerable efforts of scientists and physicians, huge financial resources, intensive development, state-of-the-art technology, the early initiation of preclinical and clinical trials, the pre-production of vaccines (even at the risk of failing the trials), as well as the maximum acceleration of administrative tasks by regulatory authorities, it was possible to create safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 within one year. All of the studies aimed at developing COVID-19 vaccines are publicly available and traceable.        

To give you an idea, the development of individual drugs or vaccines can be thought of as cars waiting in a queue. Scientists around the world are researching a huge variety of substances that can be used to treat different diseases, but the acute need for them varies. As soon as COVID-19 began to spread around the world, an ambulance appeared in this convoy of cars, representing the development of a vaccine against COVID-19. The ambulance has the right of way on the road and all other cars must give way. Under this clear path, one can imagine a redirection of all efforts towards the acute need to develop this vaccine, not only in the field of science, but also in the administration, which often takes up the most time in research. Authorities usually have several weeks to issue an identity card or a driving licence. But if you are in a hurry, they are able to provide you with a document within a few days. And the development of vaccines against COVID-19 is similar. Studies on the impact of vaccination on the population, the length of protection after vaccination, the possibility of booster shots, etc. are still ongoing.   
    

What does the vaccine do in the vaccinated person’s body and can it damage health?
All of the vaccines currently used to vaccinate against COVID-19 have undergone a series of rigorously controlled trials and must meet strict conditions to demonstrate their safety and efficacy. Present day scientific research is at a much higher level than it was a few years ago and at the time when vaccines for other infectious diseases that are commonly used today were being developed, and there is no doubt about their safety and efficacy.

The vaccines we use today to protect against COVID-19, both mRNA and vector, are based on the same principle as other vaccines, but use different, more advanced technologies to do so. The principle is to introduce a characteristic part of the disease-causing pathogen to the human body. This part is called an antigen and it cannot cause the disease on its own. However, the human body, specifically its immune system, remembers it and upon encountering a pathogen that has this antigen on it, it attacks and thus destroys this pathogen before it can cause the disease.   

The antigen of the coronavirus is the so-called spike protein. This is introduced into the human body via the vaccine and the body subsequently develops protection against it, and thus against COVID-19. All substances contained in the vaccine that are intended to help introduce the spike protein into the body are completely harmless and are degraded very quickly. Thus, there is nothing left in the body that could endanger the health of the vaccinated person in the future. The protection resulting from the vaccination is similar to protection that occurs after experiencing the disease, but with the major difference that it is not accompanied by the clinical course of the disease, which can be very severe in some people, can lead to hospitalization and, in worst cases, death. Many people who have contracted COVID-19 have long-term effects that may be irreversible.The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, may carry a risk of adverse effects, but these are much lower compared to the risks after experiencing COVID-19. The adverse effects that may occur after vaccination are usually very mild and disappear within a few hours or days. Furthermore, these reactions are the same as those experienced after vaccination against other diseases and are expected. These reactions are indicative of an “activation” of the immune system, which reacts to the presented antigen and creates protection against it. On very rare occasions, other adverse effects may occur, but again, the risk of these is much lower than after contracting COVID-19.    
     

What do we know about how these vaccines function?
The BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines belong to the group of mRNA vaccines. mRNA is a new technology, but not unknown: scientists have been researching it for the past 30  years. This technology has already been used to prepare vaccines not only against viruses (e.g., the flu virus, Zika virus, rabies virus and cytomegalovirus), and against certain types of malign tumors.

The vaccines by AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson are adenovirus vaccines. They work by preparing the organism so that it can defend itself against a covid-19 infection. The vaccine comprises another virus (an adenovirus) that was modified in such a way that it cannot in any way reproduce and contains the gene for creating the SARS-CoV-2 protein spike. The spike protein is a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that the virus needs so that it can enter an organism’s cells. After administration, the vaccine transports the SARS-CoV-2 gene into cells in the organism. With the help of this gene, the cells create the spike protein. A person’s immune system then recognizes this protein as foreign, creates antibodies against it and activates T cells (white blood cells) to attack it. If the person subsequently encounters the SARS-CoV-2 virus, his/her immune system recognizes it and the organism will be ready to defend itself against it. The adenovirus in the vaccine cannot reproduce itself and does not bring about the illness.

How are covid-19 vaccines approved?
Given the urgency of the pandemic, vaccines against covid-19 are developed and registered faster than usual. However, they will meet the same high standards as all other vaccines.