Last week on Friday, I got a call from a close friend,he was warning me against taking the COVID-19 Astrazenaca vaccine currently being administered to many Ugandans.
I was amazed that someone elite and knowledgeable would give me such advice. I asked why I shouldn’t take my vaccine.
The person’s response was baffling “I have been told that the Astrazeneca vaccine makes people impotent and since you are yet to get children of your own, I advise you not to take that jab,” he said.
He further explained that he had talked to a medical doctor who explained that they are administering the vaccine to other people and doctors had not taken the jab and were not about to do so, citing various reasons for not doing so.
I laughed in response and thanked him for his concern for my future ability to have children. His advice left me questioning myself as to whether the Covid-19 Astrazeneca vaccine causes impotence. Medical studies and research on the vaccine by different experts reveal that it is not false.
Ever since reports started circulating in Europe and the USA linking the Astrazeneca vaccine to blood clots, there have been myths surrounding the vaccines in other parts of the world like Africa and countries like Uganda.
The myths and misinformation have become a hindrance to vaccination efforts adopted by the governments to combat the spread of Covid-19. The myths and misinformation have caused fear among the population who have shied away from taking the jab.
According to the World Health Organisation, vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation indicates that as of 18 February 2021, at least seven different vaccines across three platforms were rolled out in countries and the Astrazeneca vaccine is one of them.
According to available information, over 200,000 Ugandans have been vaccinated. The Ministry of Health has publicly come out to say that the public response to covid-10 vaccines is minimal, sections of the public attribute this to fear of the myths and misinformation caused by the public.
The Ministry of Health indicated that Uganda, like many other countries in Africa and Asia, is using the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India; there are no reports of serious adverse effects or death related to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in those countries. Similarly, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been administered to more than 11 million people in the United Kingdom with no evidence of related serious adverse effects.
Luckily for me, I had read widely about the vaccine so when information linking it to such myths started to emerge, I knew quite a lot and was in a position to comfort my friends who ironically included the medical personnel. I told them I would do more research on the matter and share with them my findings.
We both found time and went to the World Health Organization website and European Medicines Agency website and the information we got dispelled the myths and misinformation my dear friend had. As both sites stated that, AstraZeneca Vaccine was not associated with blood clots and that the two bodies were closely monitoring the vaccine.
According to the Ministry of Health, the Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine is effective three weeks after an individual has received the first dose.
The Ministry of Health further stated that Vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary and free of charge.
Written By Samson Okwakol (Language producer Ateso)