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What are viral vector-based vaccines and how do they work?

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An animated collage of photos of men and women of varying ages and cultural backgrounds appears on-screen.

Text on-screen: What are viral vector-based vaccines and how do they work?

Text on-screen: Viral Vector-Based Vaccines: COVID-19 Vaccines Explained

A man in business attire appears on-screen.

Text on-screen: Dr. Guillaume Poliquin, Acting Vice President, National Microbiology Laboratory

Dr. Poliquin: When developing a vaccine, we are trying to get a message to the immune system so that the immune system is able to develop a response and remember it to protect us in the future. In the case of viral vector-based vaccines, we are using a benign virus, as a good example something like an adenovirus, which causes a cough or a cold, as a way to package and deliver to the body that key message so that it is able to develop that response to protect us in the future.

Text on-screen: How does this type of vaccine provide protection against COVID-19?

Dr. Poliquin: When using the adenovirus vector, the inside of the virus has been replaced by a set of instructions. That set of instructions is what is used by the body in order to make the S-protein, and it is that S-protein and the antibody memory that's triggered by it that protects Canadians from COVID-19 in the future.

Text on-screen: Can the vaccine give you COVID-19?

Dr. Poliquin: No, viral based vaccines are not able to give individuals COVID-19. The vector itself is not able to replicate and it only contains one part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the one that causes COVID-19, specifically the instructions for the outside protein. It does not have any of the other materials inside that would be necessary for it to cause a COVID-19 infection.

Text on-screen: Got questions?

Three speech bubbles with questions appear on the screen.

Text on-screen: Are the vaccines safe? Are side effects common? Are the vaccines effective?

Text on-screen: Good. We've got answers. Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

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