To jab or not to jab?

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Vaccine administered by a nurse at the vaccination site at Dis-Chem, Northridge Mall. PHOTO: JUSTINE FORTUIN

With the vaccination roll out for 18- to 34-year-olds well underway, Bloemfontein Courant had some mixed responses from this age group on whether they would be heading to the queues to get vaccinated or not.

Tylo April said she got her first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, 21 August. “I got the vaccine because I believe in the science of it and am very scared of getting Covid-19. I only experienced two after-effects, a sore arm and tiredness. The actual process of getting the vaccine was really easy, I was in and out of the Universitas Hospital within about 30 minutes,” she explained.

Sibusiso Phasiwe said that he did not have the confidence to get the vaccine yet, because he would actually prefer to live without having to get it altogether. “I am not convinced as to why I have to take the vaccine. All the conspiracy theories that have been going around are also not helping. My concern is with regards to the future. Is there a guarantee that we will be okay in the next five to ten years? Will the children we bring into this world over the next ten years be as normal and healthy as we were?”

Bronwyn Philander, who also got her jab on Saturday, said she was really glad that she did. “I still live with my parents and having the whole family vaccinated makes things a little less stressful.”

Vani Pijoos on the other hand, is also not sure if he wanted to get vaccinated anytime soon, because he personally felt that there were still too many split opinions about it. “I am still healthy and I have been fine so far. I don’t think I will get vaccinated anytime soon.”

Jullian Mentz said the reason he is getting vaccinated is because there is a lot of fake news circulating about the vaccine coming with a microchip. He felt that thinking like that is not conducive to a productive lifestyle. “Getting vaccinated means that should I encounter Covid-19 I will have the necessary anti-bodies to combat it. What we have realised, is that a lot of people react differently to this virus and that means some people do have symptoms and others die,” he said. Mentz explained that getting vaccinated for him is just a logical way of thinking. “Since I don’t know whether I will die or survive the virus, getting a vaccine safeguards me should I eventually encounter it.”

Gomo Madiba is also an advocate for the vaccine as she has recently witnessed how it actually does work. “My brother tested positive for Covid-19 and we live together. We were both sick; we had exactly the same symptoms and both went to get tested on the same day. He tested positive and I didn’t. I was told that I might have received a false negative, but I got tested for the second time and still tested negative. So the vaccine does work.” Madiba said she got vaccinated for this exact reason. “We all will get exposed to the virus at some point, but protecting the people around you always comes first.”

Spokesperson for Free State Department of Health, Mondli Mvambi, told Bloemfontein Courant that since the early opening of the vaccination in August 2021, they saw the 18- to 34-year-olds registering in higher numbers. Up to now, and still counting, there are 45 995 registered 18- to 34-year-olds of whom 21 000 have already been vaccinated.”

According to Mvambi the province is developing various initiatives to reach out to this group to achieve an objective of taking the vaccine to the people. “We also have pop up activations which follow the movement of people and are accessible to them. These are at Hoffman Square and Twin City in Heidedal. We are finalising arrangements to open a drive-through vaccination site in partnership with the Cheetahs Rugby Team,” he concluded.

Justine Fortuin

justine@mahareng.co.za