Why I chose to get vaccinated

COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and changed everyone’s life but with the vaccine being rolled out, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Amanda Ndlangisa recently spoke to two Anova Health Institute employees who recently got vaccinated.

Just like a lot of people, Dr Mokgadi Sinah Vlug, Cluster Programme Manager Regions E&F, COJ was scared when she first found out about the vaccine, but she knew that was the only way to protect herself and those around her. She shares her experience.

As a doctor, your chances of contracting COVID-19 are higher than the average person, how did this make you feel?

I was scared. Scared for myself, my family and all the other people I interact with. The biggest fear was getting it and transmitting to someone more vulnerable than me.

Were you looking forward to the vaccine? 

Yes. I knew the vaccine wouldn't prevent me from getting infected but it would reduce my chances of getting sick, therefore reduce my risk of transmitting it to everyone around me. For me also, as someone living with a chronic condition, getting vaccinated meant increasing my chances of survival if I were to get COVID-19.

When you found out about the vaccine, what was the first thing that came to mind?

At first I was scared, like everyone else, I wondered if it would make me sick, I stressed about the side effects, long term effects and effectiveness. But, I believed the benefits outweighed the risks, so I was also excited. Plus, the idea of being amongst the first was also exciting (laughs).

Please walk us through the day you got vaccinated.

On the day, I prepped by taking some anti-fever tablets. The excitement got very real when I got to the site and I couldn't wait to get to the end of the queue. After the admin of registering and verifying my details, I was called to a very nice nurse who indulged me with more information, she was quite  knowledgeable. The jab was painless, I expected to feel a headache or dizziness or something, but I had nothing. I even attended a meeting while waiting the 15 minutes post jab observation period. After that I had a photoshoot to document my moment for future generations. The process took about 30 minutes so I was able to go back to the office afterwards and got in some good work.

What are the benefits of being vaccinated?

  • Reduces the risk of significant/severe disease should you get infected
  • Reduces the risk of hospitalization and need for intubation as well as death from COVID-19.
  • Reduces the risk of transmission

What message do you have for people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated? 

Get educated, read as much as possible about the different infectious diseases and their impact to the human nation. Read about how vaccines have helped to rid us of so many other terrible diseases and how they continue to protect us. Seek and speak the truth about COVID-19 and don't spread false information to discourage vulnerable people. If you are not sure, ask someone who might know better so that we educate one another and grow. Vaccines are not the enemy, ignorance is.

What would you tell someone who wants to get vaccinated but isn’t sure yet

Get knowledge from reliable sources like https://www.gov.za/covid-19/vaccine rather than social media. Speak to your family, your colleagues and other people who have experience with the disease and the vaccine to hear their stories. Read about how vaccines have helped to control diseases like polio, mumps, rubella, TB, flu, some bad pneumonias and diarrhoea. Ask yourself why you believe in the vaccines that you take your children to get from the clinic, but listen to the conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccine. Ask yourself if you'd rather be the next death statistic or take your chances with the vaccine and live to tell the story to your grandchildren.

Boitumelo Mokoena, Receptionist at Omnipark, was sceptical about the vaccination at first. But after tragically losing two close friends to COVID-19, Boitumelo changed her views about the vaccine. She shares her story.

Were you looking forward to the vaccine?

To be honest, I wasn’t. I believed that since I had never gotten COVID-19, there wouldn’t be a need for me to vaccinate. But after a lot of people around me at work started contracting it, I got worried. I am the receptionist, I’m the first contact for everyone who enters the office, I started thinking that my chances of being exposed to COVID-19 are high, and not only would it affect me, but also my family.

I also lost two close friends, Dr. Lesego Twala and Dr. Sindi van Zyl. Their death was a wakeup call for me. They both left two young kids and I didn’t want the same thing to happen to me.

 

Please walk us through the day you got vaccinated.

The day I decided to go, I went with Mme Busi Ziqubu, our General Assistant, we went to the Bara vaccination site. We were both nervous about the process but we kept each other calm. When we got there the queue wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, there were a lot of people who were there and  also nervous but we all calmed each other down.

I am used to injections and the Sr who vaccinated me educated me and talked me through the process. She was gentle which made the process a lot better.

Is getting vaccinated painful?

No it was not painful at all. I didn’t feel anything, it was a normal day for me.

Have you experienced any side-effects?

I experienced a few the side effects - coughing, headaches, chest pains, and my body was sore. The symptoms I experienced were COVID-19 like but I understood that my body was in shock and adjusting to the vaccine.

What are the benefits of getting vaccinated

The benefits of the vaccine is that chances of you getting hospitalized if you get COVID-19 are less.

What message do you have for people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated? 

Prevention is better than cure, people who died wanted to vaccinate but because the vaccine was not ready yet, they never had a chance to get vaccinated.

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