THE COVID-19 VACCINE
You have questions, and that's okay
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is each persons personal choice. It’s normal to be cautious when there is a new medicine available.
We Hope that this page can help you on your journey to decide if you would be willing to take the vaccine and offer you answers to the questions you may have about being vaccinated.
The Questions Most People Have
How do vaccines protect me?
When we get a vaccine, it activates an immune response in our body. This helps our bodies learn to fight off the virus without the danger of an actual infection, because the body will recognise the virus and be able to develop antibodies to fight it off. If we are exposed to the virus in the future, our immune system “remembers” how to fight it. All authorised COVID-19 vaccines provide significant protection against serious illness and hospitalisation due to COVID-19.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is made form a weakened version of the common cold virus, and has been scientifically modified to contain the Coronavirus, so that your body can recognise this virus and develop antibodies. The Sinopharm vaccine is an inactivated Coronavirus vaccine, which means that uses factors like heat or chemicals to kill the virus, and it also teaches the body to create antibodies. None of these vaccines can give you COVID-19. It takes time for your body to build immunity after vaccination, so you won’t have full protection until 2 weeks after your final dose. It is important that you receive both doses of the vaccine for it to be as effective as possible. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Protecting yourself also protects the people around you, like those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or those who can’t get vaccinated — including infants, or people with weakened immune systems from things like chemotherapy for cancer.
Why is the vaccine safe?
Millions of people globally have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in world history.
Vaccines are authorised by the large health and safety bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organisation, which set strict standards for clinical trials and rigorously evaluates scientific data submitted by vaccine developers. Once vaccines are made available to the public, the FDA and WHO continues to monitor vaccines very closely for safety. The WHO also works globally with scientists to research and test the vaccines and their continuous safety/effectiveness. Researchers began developing vaccines for COVID-19 more than a year ago in January 2020, based on decades of understanding immune response and how vaccines work. Thousands of volunteers participated in clinical trials that started that spring, making sure we can trust the vaccines to be safe and effective. Based on the results, the FDA has authorised multiple vaccines for public use, and the World Health Organisation endorses these vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines that are available in Namibia. Doctors and medical experts with many years of experience regulating vaccines evaluated information about the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality of the vaccines prior to making their decision. After a vaccine is authorised by the FDA and the WHO and is made available to the public, experts continue to closely monitor the vaccines for ongoing safety and to help us learn more about questions like how long vaccines will provide protection.
What can I expect to experience after getting the vaccine?
It is normal to experience some mild discomfort following a vaccine. This means its working and creating an immune response in your body.
You may feel soreness or experience some swelling in your arm. You may also feel tired, have a headache, fever, or chills. These symptoms do not mean you have COVID-19 — it’s NOT POSSIBLE to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. These side effects may impact your daily activities, but they shouldn’t last more than 2-3 days. If they continue or get worse, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic. Even if you have these types of effects after your first shot, it’s important to make sure you get the second one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot or you get the vaccine that only requires one dose. Ask your doctor if you have questions. Your body takes time to build immunity. You may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until 1-2 weeks after your final shot. It is very unlikely that you will develop sever side effects from the vaccine. In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. However, contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
- If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
- If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
- If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within the first three weeks.
- If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care.
Will I get long-term side effects from the vaccine?
Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following COVID-19 vaccination.
Long-term side effects following any vaccination are extremely rare. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that if side effects are going to happen, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, it is required that each of the authorised COVID-19 vaccines be studied for at least eight weeks after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and NO long-term side effects have been detected.
Other Questions You May Have
The short answer is yes, Recent reports have shown that women who get vaccinated during their pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester, have been able to develop antibodies and have even been able to transfer their antibodies to the unborn child, which allows the baby to be protected as well as the mother. Research has not been able to find any negative effects of any of the vaccines on the unborn baby Source.
Pregnant women have been found to be more likely to fall seriously ill from COVID-19 compared to other people. It is recommended that if you are pregnant, you go and have the vaccine done for your safety. Source
Because of the way that the Covid-19 vaccine works, they are not seen as posing any risk to someone who is breastfeeding. Because of this, people who are breastfeeding can definitely receive the covid-19 vaccine. Source
It is possible to get Covid-19 after being vaccinated, if your body hasn’t completed forming the antibodies yet. However, the likelihood of getting Covid after being vaccinated is far lower, and if you do get infected, the symptoms will be less severe. You will be more protected and your body will be able to battle the virus more effectively, which reduces the chances of serious illness and/or hospitalisation. Source.
Both the Sinopharm AstraZeneca vaccines have been provisionally approved for people 18 years and older and cannot be given to younger people. Source