“The process was both amazing and unbelievable.” Susan Kekana talks about her experience with the COVID–19 vaccine.

COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and changed everyone’s life but with the new vaccine being rolled out, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Amanda Ndlangisa recently spoke to Anova Health Institute’s Susan Kekana, Executive Director Government Relations, who recently got vaccinated. Kekana shares her experience.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect you?

The pandemic has affected me in more ways that I can imagine. I have lost people I am close with, family members, friends, and colleagues. Then there’s the economic side of things that I think we all felt, the economy went down, people lost their jobs which contributes to the high rate of poverty in the country.

The pandemic also affected me spiritually and socially. Not being able to go to church, visit friends and family, the change of lifestyle, social distancing, wearing masks. Things we weren’t accustomed to are now the norm. It’s been a bit of a challenge to adjust to the changes and work policies, working from home for one has been difficult.

Were you looking forward to the vaccine?  

Looking forward is an understatement. I have been waiting desperately for it. I couldn’t wait for our front line colleagues to be vaccinated, including teachers/police/ the elderly who are vulnerable and need the vaccine the most.

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

Excitement. I couldn’t really believe it.

Please walk us through the day you got vaccinated.

The process was both amazing and unbelievable. To have been able to get something I have been long waiting for so quickly was something else. The process took about one and a half hours. I felt relieved after getting the jab.

Is getting vaccinated painful?

Not at all. It feels like how it would when you get a normal injection/needle prick.

Have you experienced any side-effects?

I got a mild fever at night post vaccine, something I was expecting because they did explain the side effects to me, but I was on my feet working the following day. I also had a small pain and redness on the injection site, which  is also normal and expected because of the needle prick.

What would you tell someone who wants to get vaccinated but isn’t sure because of all the conspiracy theories? 

I would educate him/her on the benefits of vaccinations and also about prevention measures, like wearing of  masks, social distancing etc. I would definitely encourage him/her to read Covid 19 IEC materials, to get proper information from experts, including Nurses/Drs in health facilities, and to ask questions where he/she doesn’t understand.  I would also give them  the example of how we all  got immunised during childhood to prevent diseases, and because of that we don’t see people dying of polio or smallpox. Although Covid 19 is something new, vaccination has been around for many years , to prevent severe complications of many infections, including Covid 19.

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