It has been over 3 weeks since I got my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The procedure was fast and painless! The only reason I waited at the vaccine station was the 15 minutes I had to wait so they could see my reaction to the vaccine.

The nurse who administered the dose clarified that I might have side effects such as a redness where the needle was inserted, a headache and a mild fever. In this case, she advised on the use of Panado.

I’m lucky to say I didn’t have any of the side effects, but any vaccine does cause some mild short term side effects and these are not permanent.

There are many myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. Today, we will play myth busters on them!

MYTH: The COID-19 vaccines were developed quickly and are not safe.

There were social media posts going around saying people who take the COVID-19 vaccines are the guinea pigs of the vaccines. This is not true – global efforts to develop a vaccine began when a genetic sequence of the disease was developed and published on the 11th of January 2020. Another reason to debunk this is that the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority must test and approve all health products including the vaccine before they are used in South Africa.

MYTH: People have died from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Social media has been abuzz with this myth in particular. In South Africa there have been recorded deaths. Data on the on the few deaths observed in people who received the vaccine has been associated with other underlying pre-existing clinical conditions and not linked to the vaccine itself.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine will give me COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any live virus of COVID so it cannot give you the virus. The vaccines use various methods to train your immune system to fight off COVID-19 before you contract it. The result is that when you do become infected, you experience less severe illness. One of the methods includes the use of harmless pieces of the virus. You may experience some mild side effects after you have received the vaccine – these are signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. Side effects include flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, or fever.

MYTH: Government is colluding with big pharmaceutical companies to distribute the vaccines despite the risks.

This is not true. Government is dedicated to saving lives of South Africans and opening the economy of the country. This can be achieved through herd immunity; South Africa will achieve herd immunity when 67% of the population has been vaccinated. Our government wouldn’t risk the lives of its people.

MYTH: Young people do not need to vaccinate, as their immune systems are more resistant to COVID-19.

Though young people are less likely to be hospitalized from severe symptoms of the virus they can catch it and if you can catch it, you can spread it. At a population level you are less likely to spread the virus if you are vaccinated so vaccination is not only for you but for your loved ones who are not young and with strong immune systems.

This is a time to make educated decisions about our lives and those around us. The pandemic has caused much pain and anguish, from losing our loved ones to losing jobs because of the lockdown regulations. The government is now working on getting herd immunity in the country so it is able to open the country and the economy and hopefully, we can go back to what we know. We can go back to work, to enjoy football games in stadiums and enjoying drinks with friends!


Read more about the COVID-19 vaccine here

Tell us: What are your thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine?