Features, Health and Society Editor
The thought of vaccination may send some chills down the spines of many people.
With fake alarmist information being spread daily by non-vaxxers, some trusting people take this as fact hook, line and sinker ignoring proven scientific information on Covid-19 vaccines.
Yet in reality, vaccines are saving lives of millions across the globe.
This, however, is aided by non-pharmaceutical measures like social distancing, washing hands with soap and clean running water and wearing clean face masks.
Vaccination has become more vital at a time 104 countries are battling the fast spreading and lethal Covid-19 Delta variant.
As at July 13, a total of 29 344 people received their first vaccine doses bringing a total of 955 656 people being vaccinated with the first dose vaccine in Zimbabwe.
A total of 14 327 people received their second dose bringing the total to 619 883 people vaccinated.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) says vaccines train the immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease.
“However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications,” the MOHCC says.
According to the MOHCC, some vaccines require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart.
“This is sometimes needed to allow for the production of long-lived antibodies and development of memory cells.
“In this way, the body is trained to fight the specific disease-causing organism, building up memory against the pathogen so it can fight it in the future. Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection against specific diseases,” adds the MOHCC.
Who can get vaccinated?
The MOHCC also says nearly everyone can get vaccinated.
Furthermore, the MOHCC says because of some medical conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines, or should wait before getting them.
“Your health provider will help to decide on which vaccine is recommended or not recommended for your condition.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), getting vaccinated is safer than getting infected.
“Vaccines train our immune system to recognise the targeted virus and create antibodies to fight off the disease without getting the disease itself. After vaccination, the body is ready to fight the virus if it is later exposed to it, thereby preventing illness,” WHO says.
WHO adds that most people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop an immune response within the first few weeks, “but we are still learning how strong and lasting that immune response is, and how it varies between different people.”
“People who have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 should still get vaccinated unless told otherwise by their health care provider. Even if you’ve had a previous infection, the vaccine acts as a booster that strengthens the immune response. There have also been some instances of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 a second time, which makes getting vaccinated even more important,” WHO adds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Covid-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.
“COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective,” the CDC notes.
The CDC further explains that Covid-19-vaccines are effective and they keep people from getting and spreading the virus that causes Covid-19.
“Covid-19 vaccines also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get Covid-19.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19.”
Make the right choice, get vaccinated to protect yourself, and those around you so that normalcy returns.