Syringe. Picture: Pexels
Syringe. Picture: Pexels

Covid-19 vaccines have mild side effects, says SA doctor

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Jan 25, 2021

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Cape Town – Covid-19 vaccines that have been registered for use indicate mild side effects, Johannesburg-based medical practitioner Dr Jenny Laithwaite said.

These may include pain and redness at the injection site, and fever and headache for a day or two after.

This as the Western Cape inches closer to the 10 000 Covid-19 death mark, recording 9 842 deaths and 262 713 total cases so far.

A few patients have had allergic reactions to the vaccines, but as long as the vaccine is administered in a health facility, and the patient is observed for 15 to 30 minutes afterwards, this can be treated.

Published on the country's coronavirus information data site,, Laithwaite said amid much speculation and debate on the topic, there were many different vaccines being developed at the moment.

Most of them were either mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson).

The active ingredient in each vaccine is a fragment designed to mimic the outer coating of Sars-CoV-2. None of them contain the actual virus or human tissue, she said.

Laithwaite added 200 000 volunteers had participated in vaccine trials.

By yesterday, South Africa recorded 1 404 839 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 40 574 deaths and 1 217 492 recoveries.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said last week the province had not yet received the details on when the first vaccine doses would arrive, nor how many it would receive.

He said that the Western Cape has planned to deliver 105 000 vaccines to health-care workers as part of its first phase, which it will roll out in the first week of February, if received by then.

“Being vaccinated can prevent a large percentage of recipients from becoming severely ill with the disease,” Laithwaite said.

“This can benefit the patient personally by preventing them from developing the sickness, or making it a lot milder, and can also benefit the community as a whole by stopping the chain of transmission of the disease.

“Each of the vaccines that has been approved for use has followed the accepted processes of being tested in phase 1 (safety/dosage), phase 2 (human safety) and phase 3 (human efficacy) trials.

’’They have been shown to effectively prevent a large percentage of those who received them from developing severe Covid-19 or dying from it.

“The side effects that they caused have been very mild. As the vaccines are rolled out to the public, they move into the next phase of surveillance where their effectiveness and any new, rarer side effects are observed, reported and monitored.”

Cape Times

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