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Getting the Covid-19 jab doesn’t guarantee 100% immunity from the virus, warns Mkhize

Johannesburg health workers queue for the Covid-19 vaccine outside the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
Johannesburg health workers queue for the Covid-19 vaccine outside the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned South Africans that receiving the Covid-19 vaccine does not guarantee complete immunity from the coronavirus.

“The vaccine will protect you from getting severe Covid-19 disease or dying from Covid-219. However, no vaccine works 100% and we also still do not know whether vaccination prevents transmission of the coronavirus,” Mkhize said.

“It is therefore still important to follow the standard Covid-19 safety precautions to protect yourself and those around you,” he said.

Mkhize was speaking on Sunday ahead of the rollout of the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination plan which will see citizens above the age of 60 inoculated.

He said the country was ready for the rollout.

Mkhize warned that the vaccinations may come with mild side-effects.

“Many people have mild symptoms after vaccination. These include flu-like symptoms like mild fever, headache and tiredness, as well as redness, swelling and pain at the injection site,” said Mkhize.

If you have serious symptoms after vaccination, seek care at your local clinic or hospital
Health minister Zweli Mkhize 

“These generally disappear within one or two days and can be managed at home with rest and paracetamol,” he said.

“If you have more serious symptoms such as severe headache, severe abdominal pain or severe limb pain, you should call our Covid-19  hotline on 0800 029 999 for advice, or seek care at your local clinic or hospital.”

As areas in the country are already in the third wave of Covid-19 infections, Mkhize stressed the importance of vaccinating as many people as soon as possible.

He warned that there may be a slow start at the beginning of the second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations but said the numbers should pick up during the course of the month.

The minister said there were 87 vaccination sites nationally, with 83 in the public sector and four were in the private sector. The health department was hoping to up this number to 200 by the end of the week.

Following Mkhize’s address, provincial health MECs provided  briefings on their readiness for the next phase of the vaccine rollout programme.


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