‘The best vaccine is one that you have received’: Govt

The best vaccine is the one that you have received, health officials have said, noting that receiving a vaccine now is better than waiting for different types of vaccines.

In Zimbabwe, four vaccines were approved for use by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).

These vaccines are Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, Covaxin from India and Russia’s Sputnik V.

So far the country has received Sinopharm doses and its very first consignment of Sinovac vaccines from China.

Out of these vaccines, people have been asking which vaccine they must take and which one is the best.

In her weekly update, Zimbabwe’s Chief Coordinator for the National Response of the Covid 19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva said the best vaccine was the one that an individual has already received.

“Experts globally and here in Zimbabwe have made it very clear that the best vaccine is the one that an individual has received and not the one sitting in our central vaccine stores or sitting with the manufacturer in China, America, United Kingdom or anywhere else for that matter,” she said.

Dr Mahomva stressed that all authorised vaccines including the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines work extremely well to protect against severe disease, hospitalisation and death.

“All authorised vaccines have gone through the required clinical trials as well as the necessary regulatory clearing processes by our MCAZ. What is left for the vaccine to work, for it to be the best, is for that vaccine to be injected into an individual’s arms,” said the health official.

She highlighted that as long as Zimbabwe still had Covid-19 cases, continued recording transmission cases, the novel coronavirus could suddenly spike once again and anytime.

“This can be as was seen towards the end of our first wave. If this happens and at that time you have not been vaccinated, it means you have a higher chance than those who have been vaccinated of not only contracting the disease but also getting the severe form of that disease.  That will require hospitalisation, which can lead to death. Our January 2021 is a lesson we should never forget but must learn from, so let’s protect ourselves,” Dr Mahomva said.

Dr Mahomva added that the vaccines were safe and effective.

“Receiving a vaccine now is, therefore, better than waiting to receive a different vaccine later. In other words, the approved vaccine you can get now, whether it is the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine, it doesn’t really matter which vaccine that is, it is the best vaccine for you,” she said.

“These vaccines are safe and effective. Talking about effectiveness, the vaccines that MCAZ have approved for use including these two are effective.”

She said as for the safety of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, like most medicines, could cause short term side effects in some people.

“This includes pain at the injected side, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. These short term side effects are in a number of cases, a sign your immune system is kicking into action and producing those antibodies or soldiers, which in turn protect you from the deadly Covid-19,” Dr Mahomva said.

“These short term side effects therefore do not mean the vaccines are not safe. These vaccines are safe.”

Dr Mahomva said the delivery of additional vaccine doses would take the country’s vaccination programme to “a much higher level.”

“We are truly excited about it, we have the vaccines and the people want to be vaccinated, as confirmed by the recent scientific survey,” she claimed.

This survey, according to Dr Mahomva, whose results came out in February 2021, was conducted by PAC (Pan African Consortium), a team of global scientists who include those from WHO and Africa CDC.

“The survey results specifically and clearly demonstrated that over 60 percent of our people plan to get a vaccine when it is made available. Let us, therefore, roll up our sleeves and get to work. For those who have received their first vaccine dose, do remember to get a second dose when the time comes. In the meantime you must continue with all the other preventative measures now and even after you have received the second dose,” she said.

“For those who have not been vaccinated but are eagerly waiting and planning to be vaccinated, do get vaccinated when your chance comes and yes we will let you know about it.”

As of March 24, 2021, Zimbabwe has 36 749 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 34 476 recoveries and 1516 deaths.

To date a total of 44 135 frontline workers have been vaccinated.

Harare has the highest incidence cases per capita followed by Bulawayo.

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