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Friday, January 22, 2021

Dear Zambians, would you take the Covid 19 Vaccine if offered?

Health Dear Zambians, would you take the Covid 19 Vaccine if offered?

By Dr Parkie Mbozi

AFTER months of working around the clock to develop and test vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, the scientists’ hard work has finally paid off. So far three vaccines are under distribution, first – Oxford ChAdOx1-S – in the United Kingdom, and now – Pfizer/BioNTech (mRNA) and Moderna -in the United States. More countries are in a preparatory phase for takeoff and a few African countries have so far paid their vaccine bills, signaling that the vaccine is on its way to Africa, and eventually Zambia.

Here is the reason why vaccines are so crucial to the fight against Covid 19. In just over 12 months since the pandemic broke out, as of 22nd of December 2020, Covid 19 had infected an estimated 77,716,246 and claimed 1,708,924. About 54,591,959 had recovered from the disease. Although Africa’s contribution to the global cumulative total has been relatively marginal, just below 3.5% of both infections and deaths, there are realistic concerns that the continent cannot cope with a full-blown outbreak.

Experts agree that widespread use of safe and effective vaccines will rapidly contain the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spreading like wild fire especially under the second wave. The Covid 19 virus has already mutated and its variant, reported already in countries such as UK and South Africa, is reportedly 70 times more infectious than the original strain. The global community is resigned to the view that a vaccine is the only panacea to containing the spready of the pandemic.

The question though is, how many of Africans and Zambians are ready to take a Covid 19 vaccine when it finally arrives? I analyse this question given lack of a local study on this subject and in the context of the myths and misconceptions associated with vaccines in general and Covid 19 vaccine in particular. Immunization is a voluntary call. Therefore, how the public perceive of a vaccine, or any medication for that matter, affects it uptake. Below are some of myths and fears that have been widely recorded across the globe and the assurances from the regulatory authorities, in particular the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and scientists.

Myth 1: The vaccine isn’t safe because of how fast it was created

There is widespread concern about whether the requirements to approve the vaccines on an emergency basis have been as stringent as could have been under non-emergency scenario. I have also heard from people around me questioning why there is no vaccine for HIV, which has been around us since 1984. Others have asked whether there were enough trials on the African continent, specifically on black people. Only Egypt and South Africa are reported to have participated in the vaccine trials.

To allay these concerns, the FDA clarifies that the COVID-19 vaccines were adequately evaluated to make sure the benefits outweigh the risks, just as with any other vaccine submitted to them for approval. A statement by the FDA further points that. “Despite its relatively quick creation and emergency approval, both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines had to meet the FDA’s vaccine criteria which include a clinical trial. Between both vaccines, almost 70,000 people participated in the clinical trials. Before a vaccine is approved for emergency use, non-clinical, clinical, and manufacturing information is reviewed by a data safety monitoring board.”

The FDA assures that it “will continue to monitor those vaccinated for severe side effects, hospitalizations, and death” and also sas “it expects drug manufacturers issued emergency use for COVID-19 vaccines to continue collecting data for future approval.” Satisfied?

Myth 2: COVID-19 vaccines can cause people to have serious side effects like Bell’s Palsy

The fear of side effects has been expressed among a lot of people world-wide. Others have alluded to conspiracy theories, such as that certain races could be targeted for sterilization to reduce the global population. This is a major source of the concern among blacks in the USA, which has prompted some prominent African-Americans to publicly take shots of the Covid 19 vaccine to try and allay these fears.

Reports from clinical trials and the ongoing vaccination in the USA confirm minimal side effects from both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. However, the manufacturers have argued that the benefits far outweigh the side effects. The most common side effect for the Pfizer vaccine was an injection site reaction, felt in 84.1% of cases. The most common side effect for the Moderna vaccine was injection site pain, felt in 91.6% of trialists.

It is reported that only seven people, out of the more than 60,000 who participated in the vaccine clinical trials, experienced Bell’s Palsy – four in the Pfizer and three in the Moderna clinical trials. Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the USA. The manufacturers say that the symptoms in most patients are temporary and improve within a couple of weeks.

Myth 3: People with underlying health conditions shouldn’t get vaccinated

The myth stems from the misconception that the vaccine could worsen the underling conditions of the affected individuals.

To the contrary, the Centre for Disease Control (CED) of the USA recommends that individuals living in long-term care facilities get the vaccine first to protect them from the virus. This is because individuals with underlying health conditions or comorbidities are susceptible to severe complications from COVID-19. Priority is being given to the vulnerable populations before the rest of the general public. Health care workers and those above 65 years of age fall in this category.

Myth 4: People who have had COVID-19 do not need to get the vaccine

There is debate about how long an individual’s “natural immunity” lasts after getting COVID-19. The FDA and CDC both agree that more research is needed to determine a person’s immunity after a COVID-19 diagnosis but recommend those who have already been sick to get the vaccine anyway.

Myth 5: COVID-19 vaccines contain tracking microchips or “nanotransducers”

This myth morphed into a conspiracy theory after Bill Gates suggested creating a “digital certificate of vaccine records.” Media analysts argue that Gates has been the top subject of COVID-19 misinformation since early in the pandemic, some of which ae steeped in his obsession with computer viruses.

South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, a devout Christian, for instance, said the following in a prayer at an event in Johannesburg on two weeks ago to honour people who died from Covid-19 in his country, “I lockout every demon of Covid-19, I lock out any vaccine that is not of you, if there be any vaccine that is of the devil meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people, meant to corrupt your DNA,” he said in the prayer.

Despite a backlash, Mogoeng defended his position. “You can’t say we must, as Christians, just fold our arms and say ‘whatever people come with’ is fine. No. We can’t” he said and added that, “If there is a vaccine with 666, I want God to destroy it. If there is any vaccine meant to corrupt the DNA of people, I’m asking God to interrupt it. Any clean vaccine, they must produce it quickly.”

The FDA has assured that the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain tracking microchips or “nano transducers” that control the brain or can download personal information. Gates himself ridiculed this conspiracy theory, “It’s almost hard to deny this stuff because it’s so stupid or strange that even to repeat it gives it credibility.” Whether the doubting ‘Thomases’ are convinced is another matter.

Myth 6: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will make people sick

The CDC clarified that vaccines work because the body learns to recognize and fight whatever disease it’s being vaccinated against. COVID-19 vaccines help the body identify the virus in order to build the body’s immunity, or help the body fight the virus. The vaccines do not contain a “live” virus. Side effects like fever, muscle, or joint pain are signs the body is building immunity. However, a person can become infected with the virus while still building immunity, according to the CDC.

Myth 7: People won’t have to wear a mask or social distance after getting vaccinated

The CDC is recommending people continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash their hands frequently, including those who have received the vaccine, until scientists have had a chance to gather more research. The CDC advises that the combination of Covid 19 vaccination and sticking to the health guidelines offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Recent Studies on Uptake of Covid 19 Vaccine

These myths, misconceptions and fears have prompted launching of acceptability and perceptions studies. A recent poll by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago found that in the USA, as few as 50% of people in the United States were committed to receiving the vaccine, with another quarter wavering (not sure). Some of the communities most at risk from the virus were also the most hesitant. Among Black people, for instance, only 40% said they would not get a vaccine while 32% were not sure. Acceptability tended to be higher among older people.

A global study covering 13,426 people in 19 countries with a high COVID-19 burden, with South Africa representing Africa, found acceptance rates ranging from almost 90% (in China) to less than 55% (in Russia). The study also found lowest acceptability among those with lower education and income levels. It also found wide variations in vaccine acceptability across countries and regions of the world. The authors concluded that, “Unless and until the origins of such wide variation in willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine is better understood and addressed, differences in vaccine coverage between countries could potentially delay global control of the pandemic and the ensuing societal and economic recovery.”

The authors further concluded and advised that, “In most of the 19 countries surveyed in our study, current levels of willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine are insufficient to meet the requirements for community immunity. To build increased trust among the general population, the elements that define and build trust must be understood and interventions crafted accordingly. It is increasingly clear that transparent, evidence-informed policy and clear, accurate communication will be required of all relevant stakeholders. The ongoing pandemic provides the public health community with an important opportunity to build vaccine literacy and confidence to support the uptake of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, as well as to bolster overall immunization programs for all vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Dr Chitalu Chilufya and MoH, please take heed.

The author is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Zambia. He is reachable on pmbozi5ATyahooDOTcom. Some of the data used is lifted from Wikipedia and other online sources.

 

 

 

35 COMMENTS

  1. The vaccine is a poison, why vaccinate against something that has a 91% recovery rate? It’s a Western way of instituting family planning. Men will become impotent and women sterile ( barren).

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  2. The evil upnd diasporans need it more than we do as they are dying carelessly there abroad. Let Larry mweetwa and his fellow monkeys get vaccinated. Here in Zambia we have done a good job containing this virus. We will wait to see if the diasporans grow tails after taking vaccine and then we will decide whether we need to risk it.

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  3. Whether or not the vaccine is safe can only be evident after a long stretch of time (even up to 10years). This is why it is advisable for countries like Zambia, which are least affected NOT to rush into vaccination. In any case, the decision should remain voluntary. The biggest mistake any government can make is to make the vaccine mandatory for it’s citizens.

  4. The author is a Research Fellow with UNZA and a Mass Comms Lecturer but what he conveniently omits is that he is also a managing partner for DevCom Consulting Ltd a private consulting firm focusing on support to development organizations. On his LinkedIN he claims to be the founder when there is another company by the same name in the USA, established in 2000, called DevCom which states that is a trusted technology partner for many of the world’s leading enterprises, SMEs and technology innovators.
    Parkie Mbozi if you want a public sensitization contract from MOH just go and approach them as far as I am concerned these vaccines should only be given to the elderly and people with alignments. Why are they hell bent on pushing vaccines to us and not good healthy diets and lifestyles …you…

  5. CONTD
    …you can discredit every myth out there but the fact remains that we are dealing with greedy Global pharmaceutical and political pimps here.

  6. As usual Internet troll/ Impostor posts something to distract readers from the main topic … the UK based impostor would rather talk about his small political parties PF and UPND as that’s the only topic he can insult without using his brain …topics of this nature will expose him.

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  7. “AFTER months of working around the clock to develop and test vaccines against SARS-CoV-2”

    They’re joking. Safety trials take a decade of observation to complete. Now they’ve done away with all of that. And even now there are a lot of people who have very serious side effects – anaphylactic shock, Bell’s Palsy and more. And that’s just what they missed in the short term. The long term damage is incalculable. Plus mRNA is not really a vaccine, it is an injectable technology. Do not take ‘the vaccine’.

  8. Have you considered the fact that the areas where one of the vaccines was tested is the one that has developed the fast spreading mutant strain? Mutant strains are obviously going to happen. Infact, the Spanish SARS Cov 2 in the summer was very different from the original Wuhan starin and we know how devastating it was. The same starin spread through Europe. There is much we do not know about this disease and in particular why Africans have not suffered as much. When HIV came, it rapidly decimated Africa south of the Sahara. No one in Europe talks about taking an HIV vaccine, because HIV is not prevalent there. Why should Africans take a SARS Cov 2 vaccine?

  9. 40 years of HIV/AIDS, no vaccine because ARVs are more profitable than getting rid of the HIV virus! HIV is also a tool for the Africa depopulation agenda of Bill Gates and company!
    Less than One year of COVID and we have the vaccine? Why did CDC have to Patent COVID? Isn’t Profits from Pathogens the primary motive? COVID also favours the Despotic New World Order for invasive control and monitoring of the human Species!

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  10. Chikubabe – Please tell today they are pushing for Cholera vaccine…imagine …people think Bill Gates is a saviour these are cold ruthless people!!

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  11. Chikubabe – Please tell em…today they are even pushing for Cholera vaccine…imagine …people think Bill Gates is a saviour these are cold ruthless people!!

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  12. I’m in the diaspora, they are pushing this vaccine to minorities first claiming they have been the most impacted. Minorities have learned not to trust such schemes. It’s a family planning tool meant to limit their numbers. No normal African American will allow themselves to be injected. Africa beware.

  13. On October 1, 2010, the U.S. President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Health and Human Services formally apologized to Guatemala for the ethical violations that took place. Guatemala condemned the experiment as a crime against humanity, and a lawsuit has since been filed.
    Wikipedia › wiki › Guatemala_syph…
    Guatemala syphilis experiments – Wikipedia

  14. Hi Mbozi,
    Thanks for the reasonable and timely question to this beloved country.

    The question that should be asked is, as an African country are we really affected by the pandemic compared to the white man’s land?

    Secondly is the vaccine really meant for good for all races in view of the myth already raised in some world circles? Already indications are there that Gates intention into this vaccines is no good intention for Africans.
    I strongly suggest that before Africa_Zambia embraces this vaccines a rather objective and synthetic investigation is carried by our pharmacist and doctors

    Please accepting this vaccines should not be motivated by money or support attached to it rather objective usage of the same.
    To the minister do not commit the nation on this vaccines…

  15. Parkie Mbozi use both eyes. Nowadays Unza seems to be producing one eyed graduates who think every development only happens in the west. When I was at unza we were constantly reminded of the need to examine both the West and the East and more importantly ourselves.
    There are more than three vaccines under distribution but you are deliberately ignoring the sputnik vaccine because you are a victim of western propaganda. The west want all of us to see things only from their perspective. Oxford is in fact working in collaboration with sputnik for another vaccine
    ,

  16. Ndoleshyafye I think you mean going numb on the left side of the brain. Apparently the upnd leadership have taken it hence their very dull thinking. Numb skulls

  17. Ndoleshyafye – there are issues with vaccines in West Africa, Nigeria to be specific….we should wary of these proponents for these Western medicines. ..dig deeper you find they are funded indirectly by big pharma.

  18. The author is a bootlicker on a Gates Foundation pay-roll.

    Those who regularly get flu shots are aware that… the shot that you will be given this year will not be as effective the next. Mutants being the reason for the same. You will therefore need a new shot every year.

    A Covid vaccine given this year, will most definitely expire the next. Because, with Covid too, mutation is a fact!

    This vaccine is going to be an annual mandatory shot. Especially for those who travel abroad.

    And, if WHO and their pay masters have their way, Covid vaccines will be another burden on governments far and wide. That’s quiet a burden for a condition that has a cure in ones own immune system.

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