Health officials yesterday dismissed claims that the COVID-19 virus was injected into the body through the AstraZeneca vaccine but said a vaccine vector which was scientifically tested and extremely safe was a part of the vaccine which did not require people to self-isolate after being inoculated.
A senior official from the Health Ministry told Daily Mirror that since the vaccination programme opened out to the public early last week, concerns were raised if people had to self-isolate after receiving the jab claiming that a small percentage of the COVID was injected. However, the official rejected these claims saying those inoculated were only advised to take two days rest and avoid strenuous work.
"Other people at home will not get infected with the COVID-19 after one receives the vaccine. This vaccine does not include coronavirus. There is no dead coronavirus or any other coronavirus in this vaccine. This vaccine only has a vaccine vector called ChAdOx. That is a virus that can never infect a human, It is used in the vaccine as a vehicle to create a part of DNA for our body to start producing spike proteins similar to the one in the COVID virus. So COVID is not entering our body through the vaccine. That is false," the senior official said.
Further, the public have been requested to at least take one day's leave off work and avoid any kind of strenuous work for two days in order to maintain the immune system at optimum after being inoculated. Immunosuppressive routines which can weaken the immune system should be avoided and even habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided.
"After receiving the vaccine, people should get plenty of rest. They should avoid work the next day and avoid doing anything that reduces their immunity. Because when you consume stuff like alcohol and tobacco, it has an immunosuppressive effect. So when you take it, your immune system gets suppressed a bit. So best you avoid this till the body finishes its fights. The greater the fight the better the result," the official said.
After receiving the jabs, some of the side effects experienced are pain at the injection site, fever, chills, generalized body ache, a little bit of lethargy for days and even in some instances, nausea.
However, the public have been advised to avoid taking Panadol before leaving for the vaccinations and use paracetamol only if the need arises. If fever or any other symptoms persist, paracetamol should be taken 6 hourly. For those who do not face any symptoms, it is not a concern as different individuals will react to the vaccine differently. A lack of symptoms does not mean the vaccine is not having any effect.
Further, the official said those who were on immunosuppressive medication should consult their doctor who would advise them when to receive the jabs.
"For those who are old and have heart disease, stroke, this vaccine can be taken because vaccine trials have been done on older people, and they are the most at risk of developing complications due to COVID. They are the must take people. But it is best to consult the doctor and get their opinion. Medical officers will also be at the vaccination points. Just be honest and tell them the truth," the official said.
Further, the official explained that even after receiving the jabs, people could face the risk of being infected with the coronavirus, but the symptoms experienced then would be less. However, the strength of transmission would remain.
After receiving the jabs, those who want to donate blood have been requested to hold for two weeks.
Further, health officials said those who have already suffered from the COVID-19 should also get themselves vaccinated and even if one was carrying the virus while being inoculated, it was not a concern. (JAMILA HUSAIN)