WATCH: 5 common questions about Covid-19 vaccines answered
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines will reach South Africa by the end of this month, but many people are sceptical about taking it when it becomes available.
While the president appears confident that government can deliver on this promise, they will need to win over the public who has been exposed to the conspiracy theories and fake news which abound in the digital age.
In an effort to counter fake news about the vaccine and educate the general population on why government wants to roll it out to roughly 40 million people (or 40 percent of the population), the government has embarked on an extensive social media campaign.
As part of the campaign, the Department of Health has enlisted the help of Professor Barry Schoub who leads the ministerial advisory committee on vaccines to answer some of the the most commonly asked questions around the coronavirus and the vaccines currently available.
How safe are the Covid-19 vaccines?
The purpose of the vaccine is to provide immunity against Covid-19.
Vaccines usually contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism that triggers an immune response within the body.
While the weakened version of the virus will not cause the person receiving the vaccine to contract the disease, it will trigger a response from their immune system.
Some vaccines will require multiple doses, administered weeks or months apart.
Will the Covid-19 vaccines work against new variants of the virus?
New variants of the coronavirus have been detected in England and South Africa. These variants are much more infectious than the earliest version of the virus and have already spread to scores of other countries.
While scientists are still studying these variants, there is widespread scepticism that the existing vaccines will be effective against new strains.
Are there any side effects to taking the vaccine?
Do I still need the vaccine if I've already had Covid-19?
Can the Covid-19 vaccine change my DNA?
* This article is part 1 of a three-part series.