You may be young and strong but you still need to be vaccinated - health expert debunks 8 vaccine myths for over 18s
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DURBAN - THE CABINET on Thursday approved the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine for over 18s but experts are not convinced that the age group will rush to register.
A report released this week by the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council suggests that for many, the risk of being infected with Covid-19 is far greater than the risk of getting vaccinated.
Dr Sheri Fanaroff of the Gauteng General Practitioners’ Collaboration (GGPC) debunks eight vaccine myths for over 18s:
I am young and strong – why do I need a vaccine?
It’s impossible to predict how anyone will respond to Covid-19, and we are seeing increasing cases of young people and even children presenting with severe symptoms. Young people with comorbidities are as high risk as older people. Also, we need as many people as possible of all ages to vaccinate to attain herd immunity.
If I vaccinate now, it will affect my chance of having a healthy baby?
Although there is a lot of social media misinformation about vaccines causing infertility, the respected British Medical Journal recently published guidance from the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society. It states: “There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason, that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men. People of reproductive age should get a Covid-19 vaccine, including people who are trying to have a baby or thinking about having a baby in the future”.
Will it disrupt my menstrual cycle?
Reproductive specialists say the vaccine may cause some changes, such as spotting. But there is no cause for alarm, and your cycle should return to normal. Your body is made up of immune cells, and the vaccine could trigger those in your womb to shed its lining sooner, resulting in unusual periods.
Will the vaccine give me Covid-19?
The vaccine does not contain the live virus that could make you sick. You may get mild symptoms, such as fever, muscle pains or a sore arm as your body builds protection against the virus. It’s impossible to get Covid-19 from the vaccine.
Does the vaccine contains a tracking microchip?
This myth was started by anti-vaxxers who distributed a video containing outdated footage and manipulated images. The vaccine does not contain a barcode or a tracking device.
Will the vaccine change my DNA?
Both Covid-19 vaccines instruct our cells to build protection (antibodies and T-cell immunity) against the virus. The vaccine’s ingredients never enter the cell nucleus, which is where our DNA is kept. Vaccines have absolutely no ability to interact with or alter DNA in any way. If you get the vaccine, you will not develop a third eye or have your personality altered.
I don’t want to suffer from Covid-19 because of the vaccine
You are not infecting yourself with Covid-19 by getting the vaccine. It takes about two weeks for vaccines to provide protection. People who got sick after getting vaccinated could have been infected before or shortly after getting the jab. We have also seen that some people drop their guard once they have had their first shot, which could put them at risk of getting Covid before the vaccine is effective. The good news is that their symptoms should be milder than those who have not yet been immunised.
I have already had Covid-19, so why do I need the vaccine?
For people who have recovered from Covid-19, the vaccine strengthens their immune response (both antibody and T-cell immunity) and lengthens the duration of immunity. Vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies more than natural infection, which means that they offer better protection against new variants. Several clinical trials have confirmed that the vaccine works better than natural immunity against variants of concern (including both the Beta and the Delta strains).