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Your Covid-19 question answered

LISTEN | I am young and strong, why do I need to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

24 August 2021 - 07:00 By unathi nkanjeni
South Africans who are 18 years and older are eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.
South Africans who are 18 years and older are eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.
Image: BreadCrumbs

Despite over-18s now being eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine,  vaccination hesitancy continues.

recent survey by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) suggests that vaccine acceptance across SA has picked up, but young and white South Africans remain hesitant about Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Sheri Fanaroff of the Gauteng General Practitioners’ Collaboration (GGPC) debunked some of the myths for over-18s.

Young & white South Africans 'less accepting' of vaccines: survey

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,” said Fanaroff. “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.”

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,” she said.

Will the vaccine change my DNA?

Fanaroff said Covid-19 vaccines instruct body 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,” she said.

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, Fanaroff reassured. 

“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-19 before the vaccine is effective. The good news is that their symptoms should be milder than those who have not yet been immunised,” said Fanaroff.