Namibia: No Need to Fear Covid-19 Vaccine

NAMIBIANS living abroad who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus are urging their fellow countrymen to be immunised once the vaccine arrives in the country.

This came amid conspiracies and fears that the vaccine kills, is a method of microchipping, and aims to strategically eradicate African populations, among others.

"I'm not giving off any funky radiation. I don't feel like I've been microchipped . . . having a vaccine come so quickly is quite astounding," Amakhoe Gawanas-Minney, a Namibian-British healthcare worker based in the United Kingdom, says.

"I got the [Pfizer] Covid vaccine on 23 December . . . I didn't feel anything immediately after getting the vaccine. In the evening . . . I had a mild fever, and the next day my arm was painful, but other than that, I felt completely fine," she says.

Both of these symptoms are possible side effects of the vaccine, as detailed on the patient information leaflet accompanying the jab.

According to the leaflet, some common side effects include tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

One in 10 people may experience these, the leaflet states.

Swelling and redness at the injection site, as well as nausea are also common.

Some uncommon, but likely, side effects are enlarged lymph nodes and feeling unwell. However, this is said to affect only about one in 100 people.

Recounting her experience of receiving the Pfizer vaccine, another Namibian healthcare worker based in the UK says these side effects are not unusual, and are similar to those of a flu shot.

The nurse, who identified herself only as Johanna, says: "The only side effect I noticed was slight pain at the site of injection . . . On 13 January I received my second dose. I was warned beforehand . . . that the side effects tend to be worse with the second dose . . . I felt a bit nauseous and had chills."

All four individuals who shared their vaccination experience with The Namibian reported a sore arm for a few days.

"I had minor side effects like a sore arm at the injection site, mild headaches and fatigue on the day of the vaccination," says Elke Fester, a Namibian healthcare worker who lives in Michigan, in the United States.

Fester received the Moderna vaccine.

Roger Bullen (72), a Namibian permanent resident in the UK, says: " . . . all you feel is a slight scratch. No numbness or dizziness."

SKEPTICISM UNWARRANTED

While Bullen says he had no reservations about the vaccine, he is aware of misinformation circulating in Namibia.

"There are lots of fake videos circulating in Namibia. Please ignore them," he says.

Gawanas -Minney, who admits she initially fed into the conspiracies, says she turned to science journals to inform herself.

"The one that was really big for me was that the vaccine was rushed. I started reading more science-based articles and realised it was actually not really rushed. All of the basics of these vaccines have been there for a long time. Coronaviruses are not new," she says.

The Namibian recently reported the country has made progress in acquiring vaccines by paying 15%, or N$29,3 million, of the N$169,5 million expected by the Covax facility to obtain a vaccine.

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of the month or the first few days of February.

Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula recently confirmed the country would be a beneficiary of part of the 270 million vaccines to be disbursed by the African Union to all 54 African countries this year.

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