Some healthcare workers ready to take jab, others want details
DURBAN - SOME healthcare workers who will test the waters for the Covid-19 vaccine which is expected to be rolled out this month are happy about the vaccine while others have requested more details about it.
More than 1,2 million frontline workers, which include doctors and nurses from private and public hospitals, are set to be vaccinated as the virus ravages the nation.
The announcement was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa which has been received with mixed feelings and conspiracy theories. This forced the government to conduct webinars to debunk myths about vaccines.
Doctors and nurses who spoke to the Sunday Tribune welcomed the move while others asked for “finer” details to be revealed to them.
Dr Rinesh Chetty said the biggest hurdle in the fight against pandemic was keeping the “frontline” strong.
"This first and only line of defence requires manpower that is fit, healthy and able to hold strong.
“A working vaccine will be able to allow healthcare workers the ability to provide much-needed reinforcements and bolster our efforts to continue this war. There is still a need for a sustained effort as we hopefully push for our ultimate goal of ’herd immunity’.
“The protocol that the vaccine has been expedited and will be administered to the frontline as a priority, comes as welcome good news to healthcare workers. We have lost and are still losing close colleagues and friends, we are bravely holding the line with minimal numbers, trying our hardest to stretch our available resources, attempting to keep morale positive and help each other stay motivated," he said.
Chetty said the effects on frontline workers would have lasting repercussions on their abilities and service in the future. He added that the vaccine would be the first step to start the recovery process for all.
Dr Sivan Meneses-Turino said he was ready to be vaccinated and encouraged people to be positive about the vaccine.
“Every vaccine will have its reaction which is not a secret. Even the medication we normally buy at the pharmacy has its reaction. There is no special case about the special vaccine. As a doctor I trust the scientist and their research, the vaccine has been verified and we must debunk the misconception and myth. The virus is causing havoc to everyone's life and we need to waste no time to be vaccinated,” he said.
But Dr Similo Mathenjwa said they understand their responsibility as healthcare practitioners to set a good precedent regarding vaccination.
However, she said the government must take them into their confidence about how the vaccine works and how it will react to their systems. "At this stage, little information has been given about it but we hope that more details will be available before the vaccine is here.
“We fully understand why we will be prioritised and I guess it will keep everyone at ease amid the conspiracy and mixed feelings. We understand the vaccines better than everyone,” she said.
Mthobisi Bekwa, a male nurse, was eager to be vaccinated but also called for more information about the vaccine.
He said he would not mind being among the first to be vaccinated once the vaccine has been verified to them.
“At this stage, all we know is what the president said on TV. We do not know anything other than what the president announced. We are confident that vaccines will work but there will be always a side effect which creates doubt at this stage. But once all details are available we will not hesitate to take the vaccine.”
Nokukhanya Sithole, a nurse, said she was sceptical about the vaccine saying little information has been revealed about it. She hoped that they would be informed about it before they get vaccinated.
“ A lot of things are being said about the vaccine and it is causing panic. I feel a bit nervous about it but I am optimistic it will work.
We just need more information about it and its effect,“ she said.
Another nurse who asked not to be named said vaccination must be voluntary.
“We have lost so many colleagues and we do not know how this vaccine will react. We are very scared about it and only those who are not must vaccinated,” she said.
While addressing the nation this week, Ramaphosa said the development of several effective vaccines was the most significant and promising advance since the onset of the global pandemic.
He said a vaccinated person had a much-reduced chance of becoming ill and dying from Covid-19.
“When enough people are vaccinated, we will reach what is known as ‘herd immunity’ or ‘population immunity’. This is when enough of the population is immune to the virus to provide indirect protection to those who aren’t immune, bringing the spread of the virus under control,” he said.
Ramaphosa said there was a comprehensive vaccination strategy to reach all parts of the country and to reach many people within a short period.