Zimbabwe is currently in the second phase of its Covid-19 vaccination campaign. The Country is using Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines both from China.
Information on Sinopharm vaccine
Sinopharm is a type of inactivated (Vero cell) vaccine to protect individuals against infection from SARS CoV2 (The virus which causes Covid-19). The vaccine is given as a two-dose regimen, 2 to 4 weeks apart through injections typically on the left upper arm.
According to the memo of the Sinopharm vaccine, people diagnosed with symptomatic infection with Covid-19 should not take the vaccine until they fully recover.
Information on Sinovac vaccine
Just like Sinopharm, Sinovac is also an inactivated vaccine. It works by using killed viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking serious disease response.
Why Can’t infected people take the vaccine?
The publication spoke to some doctors who said it is not recommended to take the vaccine for Covid-19 while infected with the virus.
Acting Chief Executive Officer at Mpilo Central Hospital, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said, “if currently infected you can’t be vaccinated at the same time.”
Acting Bulawayo Province Medical Director (PMD), Dr Welcome Mlilo said people infected with Covid-19 can not take a vaccine.
“People currently infected with any infection even if it’s a boil can not be vaccinated. This has been the issue with any vaccines that we have had before, thus why we check thing such as BP and so forth before the vaccine to ensure that someone is well,” said Dr Mlilo.
“Thus why even when children go for a vaccine and have high temperature, they can’t be vaccinated, they have to wait and be well, come back some other time”.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) secretary-general, Norman Matara said those currently infected with Covid-19 cannot take the vaccine as the vaccine can worsen the situation.
“No, if you have currently confirmed infection or if you suspect Covid-19 it is advisable that you don’t take that vaccine at the time you have an infection,” said Dr Matara.
“Already you are sick and if we give you the vaccine it can actually make the symptoms of Covid-19 worse, so it is advisable that you fully recover and then you get the vaccine after you have recovered,” he said.
Other health experts across the world note that Covid-19 vaccine appointments are no reason to break isolation and put others at risk of infection.
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says for people who currently have an active Covid-19 infection, their bodies are already creating antibodies in response, so it is advisable to wait until further recovery for vaccination.
Director of the Vaccine Education Centre at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Paul Offit, was quoted in a publication saying, “The CDC recommends that people who are actively infected with Covid-19 not receive the vaccine until their symptoms have completely resolved”.
“The main reason is that it would be difficult to distinguish possible adverse events associated with the vaccine from symptoms caused by the virus,” Offit said.