By Bahle Gama | 2021-03-16
Mbabane- THE ministry of health says the side effects caused by the COVID-19 vaccine will be investigated. Last week, the country received its first batch of 32 000 Astrazeneca vaccine doses which will be distributed, starting with frontline workers.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary (PS) Dr Simon Zwane said the investigation will be done in the event that a person who had been injected with the vaccine shows symptoms which they suspect could be due the vaccine.
The ministry will then conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that the side effects are in relation with the vaccine. “We would like to assure Emaswati that the vaccine is safe as we said last week.
We disclosed that before a person is injected or vaccinated, there is a research and tests that are conducted to ensure safety.
So we emphasise that this vaccine is safe, we would not give such to Emaswati without the assurance that it is safe. We will continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca because it is safe,” he said.
Zwane stated that what will be important is that in the event one feels or experiences some symptoms after having taken the vaccine, which were not there before, a hotline will be available.
“This is something which is done and will not be new with the COVID-19 vaccine. We have had instances where we have vaccinated children and would advise parents to keep watch of any side effects and contact us, so this is a norm,” he said.
Adding, he said there was a team that looks at pharmaco vigilance and a committee that will look at adverse events following immunisation and they are active at national and regional level which will document the mentioned events in relation to the vaccine.
He said should they find that there was an undesirable event, they will definitely investigate thoroughly to check if it is in relation with the vaccine, but he affirmed that they will continue with AstraZeneca.
Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the ministry Fortunate Bhembe stated that a person who is allergic to a certain injection or medication will not be left out as such has been the case in many instances.
“We are expecting that there will be a person or people outside who we will find are allergic to the vaccine. For example, penicillin, which is a very good biotic which we still use to date. However, there are certain people who are allergic to it,” she said.
That according to Bhembe did not result in the suspended use of penicillin simply because some people were allergic to it.
However, it was then advised that one should know what they were allergic to so to talk to their doctor and not receive it as a form of medication.
“With such an allergy, you don’t get to know it until you are injected or vaccinated, hence the nation should have that at the back of its mind that despite the vaccine being safe to use, we cannot guarantee that no one will be allergic to it,” she said.
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