Can pregnant women be vaccinated against Covid-19 and other nagging questions answered

By Lou-Anne Daniels Time of article published Jan 28, 2021

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Cape Town - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines will reach South Africa on February 1, but there is still a lot of scepticism about the need for, and the safety of, these vaccines.

Among the questions being asked are whether the vaccine contains any human or animal derivatives and whether there is even a need to be inoculated.

The Department of Health has produced a series of short videos answering the public's most frequently asked questions.

In the final instalment of a three-part series, Professor Barry Schoub, the head of the advisory committee on vaccines, answers questions about the safety of the current crop of Covid-19 vaccines.

Are there any animal or human derivatives in the vaccine?

Many people are afraid that the Covid-19 vaccine may contain animal or human derivatives that could go against their beliefs - religious or otherwise.

According to Professor Schoub, there are no elements of human or pig tissue present in the vaccines being rolled out in South Africa.

What happens to my body once I've taken the Covid-19 vaccine?

Because the vaccine contains an inactive form of the coronavirus, you will not contract Covid-19 but you could experience mild flu-like symptoms while the body starts producing antibodies to fight off future infections.

This is similar to the way a flu vaccine works. Some people feel really sick for a day or two without developing full-blown flu and are perfectly fine afterwards.

Should I get vacinated against Covid-19 if I'm pregnant?

According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women or recently pregnant women who are older, overweight, and have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes seem to have an increased risk of developing severe Covid-19.

Professor Schoub explains the health department’s view on inoculating pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

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