It’s okay to fear the unknown.
The world before now had never seen coronavirus before; yes, there’s the spanish flu, similar to coronavirus but it isn’t the same.
So, expectedly, we should be anxious about a hurriedly created vaccine. We should prod it, query it, interrogate it… it’s expected.
I had an initial fear of taking AstraZeneca, before my jab, I mused over the idea that the vaccine would turn me into a zombie, like I had been seeing on social media. It didn’t help that the stories about the after-effect of the vaccine didn’t favour my age bracket; people under age 60 years have been reported to develop a rare case of blood clot in the brain! In fact, Canada has put the vaccine on hold for persons under age 55years.
So I hesitated about going for it but the more I did, the more I realized I was a sitting duck for the coronavirus. I feared that if I didn’t go get my jab, I could get infected with Covid-19. I have seen family members, close friends, associates get infected, the virus has come that close to home. Several people have also died and so for me, this was no hoax.
Nigerians are used to receiving vaccines; So for me, there wasn’t much to start interrogating. I recall that my children had once asked me what the scar I had on my arm meant; I told them everyone my age, older, too, have that mark of vaccination on their left arm; it was meant to prevent us from childhood and infectious diseases like, polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. It was almost compulsory for children in the 70s, 80s and 90s…these days, I hear of parents opting not to get their children vaccinated from these childhood diseases.
It has been recorded that over two million deaths are delayed through immunization each year worldwide. While people can die from diseases, immunization /vaccination can prevent a lot more from dying preventable deaths.
As a parent, I got my children immunized at 7 days after birth for BCG, at 6 weeks I trotted off to the nearest health centre for Oral Polio vaccine; they got their DPT shots, Hepatitis B, Yellow fever, Vitamin A at 9months…today.
I wanted my kids to grow up healthy and not die from preventable deaths; it’s the same sermon I find myself preaching to those advocating a boycott of the current AstraZenaca vaccine; the benefits outweigh the negative side-effects.
Since taking the vaccination; yes, I had my share of feeling fatigued; my limbs ached and like someone described it, “like falling off a truck,” but since then, I’ve bounced back. Even the person that describe the affect effect like falling off a truck says she is a lot better now and the aches and pains have disappeared.
That the few I spoke to haven’t experienced negative side effect is no proof that AstraZeneca is 100% safe for Nigerians but I realize that this time last year, we would have taken anything drugs or vaccine if told it would help prevent or cure coronavirus especially because of the way it disrupted life and business worldwide; we wanted to go back to normal. Now that we have close to normal…with people not dying as earlier predicted, we think we can take a chance and darn the virus…after all, coronavirus is a rich man’s disease, its got nothing on the poor and lowly.
I have no answers for why Africa’s casualty figures remain abysmally low compared to the western world; maybe because we have a young population, maybe because we have developed some form of immunity against the virus because of our peculiar region…I don’t now, even science hasn’t been able to figure that out accurately, whatever the reason, I personally do not want to add an unnecessarily reason to falling sick.
While AstraZenaca may not be 100% foolproof against Covid-19, I have an assurance that having taken the vaccine, I can at least prevent infecting my loved ones, especially the elderly amongst them. I am assured that my being around them will not endangered their lives…neither will be exposing myself to preventable diseases.
I have asked friends and family who have also taken the jab to know if, one week after the jab, they feel any worse, they have all reported positive. Good so far.
Now, with many health centres still empty because people aren’t coming forward for their jabs; it means a lot of people, who should have taken these jabs have either refused to because of misconceptions or ignorance. It behooves on the rest of us to educate our people, encourage them, especially the elderly to go get their jabs; it is free, it is safe and above all, in a country where virtually anything can kill you, why add covid-19 to it?