The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be made available to frontline workers - people working in health, education, and security sectors - and to older persons.
Most people who have received the vaccine have reported some soreness on their arms, fevers, chills, fatigue, and headaches for a day or two. However, these symptoms are considered minor, and they show that the body is mounting an immune response.
Here we review some common rumours about the COVID-19 vaccine and clear them up with well-researched facts.
1. Men will be infertile once vaccinated.
Research and studies are still ongoing, but so far there has been no evidence that the COVID vaccines may cause infertility. While more research is being carried out on the COVID-19 vaccine, health professionals are encouraging more people to get the vaccine since the side-effects are mild and will protect you from getting severe disease.
2. I do not need to get the vaccine since I already got COVID-19.
There is not enough research showing how long the immunity from the virus will last, after you got COVID-19.
Healthcare officials recommend that you get the vaccine, even if you have ever had the COVID-19 virus because of the serious health risks caused by the virus and due to the possibility of reinfection - meaning you can get the virus more than once. The vaccine gives you better protection from serious forms of the disease.
3. The vaccine contains a microchip that is used to track people.
This rumor is absolutely unfounded. There is no evidence or reason that the COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip that is used to track people and to pick their personal information. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed to stop people from getting infected with the COVID-19 virus.
4. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will give me the COVID-19 virus.
This is false. The Covid vaccine does not contain live forms of the virus, therefore it cannot cause infection. The vaccine works by making your body produce the protein that infects us with the virus. By producing this protein, your body prevents you from getting infected. The side effects that you can get after getting the vaccine – fever, chills, body aches- are caused by your body mounting an immune response. If you do get COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, the symptoms will not be as serious.
Watch this video to better understand how vaccines work.
5. Once I get vaccinated, I do not have to wear masks or practice social distancing.
The vaccine protects people from getting severe symptoms of COVID-19. There is no proof that the vaccine stops the spread of the virus therefore, the best way to keep everyone safe from the COVID-19 virus is to keep following measures such as wearing masks, keeping a distance of at least 1 meter between you and other people, and handwashing. There is a possibility that you can still get the virus though it will be mild, and you can still transmit it to others.
6. You can die after getting vaccinated.
There have been a lot of rumors circulating around the world about people dying after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. However, in most of the cases that were reported, health officials and authorities in the different countries have not found links between the vaccine and the deaths.
7. The vaccine was developed to eliminate refugees.
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to prevent people from getting infected with the COVID-19 virus and not to eliminate some members of the population. Both Kenyans and foreigners, including refugees, getting vaccinated in Kenya receive the Astra Zeneca vaccine that is distributed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to all counties countrywide.
8. The COVID-19 vaccine should be given to old women only since they are the ones not in the reproductive age.
There is no evidence that the vaccine can affect women’s fertility. However, World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that pregnant women should only get the vaccine after discussing with their doctor since the benefits outweigh the risks. Breastfeeding women can also get vaccinated and continue to breastfeed.
9. Young people do not need the vaccine since they are not at risk.
Currently, clinical trials for a vaccine or vaccines for children are being conducted in different parts of the world and WHO will update when the vaccines are safe and ready to be administered to children. The current covid vaccine is approved for people aged 18 years and above because the Covid 19 virus has been shown to have more serious effects on adults.
Are vaccines Safe?
Yes, vaccine safety is a top priority, and this is no different for COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines go through clinical trial phases before they are approved for use. These trials aim to ensure the safety and ability of the vaccine to protect against the disease (efficacy).
The vaccines developed against COVID-19 follow these same phases. COVID-19 vaccines will not be approved or introduced for use until their safety has been proven by regulatory agencies. Likewise, the WHO will not grant a vaccine until the Emergency Use Listing has analyzed all the trial data. After COVID-19 vaccines are approved, monitoring for safety continues. This monitoring is a normal part of immunization programs and is done for all vaccines.
WHO estimates that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which is being used in Kenya is 63.09% effective against COVID-19. Among the side effects that you might get after getting the vaccine are:
• Muscle pain
• Joint pain
These side effects are mostly mild and go away after between 1-2 days. However, like any medicine or vaccine, they may have some rare side effects which is why you will be observed for about 15 minutes once you get the vaccine. You can also get the AstraZeneca vaccine if you have mild allergies including if you are allergic to eggs or chicken.
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