MYTH 1: “Employers are forcing employees to vaccinate against their will and without their informed consent “
FACT: Employees can refuse vaccination on Constitutional or medical grounds. Constitutional grounds are the right to bodily integrity and the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion. Medical grounds include severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine. No employer is forcing employees to vaccinate against their will and without their informed consent.
MYTH 2: “People are given gene-changing injections (vaccines) without their informed consent.”
Vaccines do not change your genes.
Informed consent is a necessary part of all health care provision, including vaccination, and of clinical trials. All persons receiving a service must be given the information that they need to make a decision on whether to accept the service. When being given a COVID-19 vaccination, the person receiving it is given all relevant information about what to expect.
MYTH 3: “Vaccines in South Africa are not licensed for use as COVID-19 vaccines “
FACT: The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has authorized three vaccines authorized for use in South Africa - AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J). SAHPRA has reduced the COVID-19 vaccine registration process from 20 months to less than 3 months where the required standard of data is available, while adhering to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of South Africans. No steps are being skipped in the trial or registration process – the process is just being completed more quickly, allowing for speedy registration of vaccines in South Africa.
Only SAHPRA authorized vaccines may be used to vaccinate people in South Africa.
MYTH 4: People are forced to use vaccines, which have harmful consequences, including death. They are not made aware of alternative medicines such as ivermectin, hydrochloroquine, umhloyane and zinc.
The vaccine assists in the body to build immunity to fight the virus. While there may be some side effects for some people, these are generally not serious and are much less serious than the effects of COVID-19.
There is currently no SAHPRA authorized treatment for COVID-19 once a person has been infected.
Vaccines, like all medicines, can have side effects. For COVID-19 vaccines, common side-effects include headache, nausea, and fever. Most of the time, the side-effects are not serious and are definitely not life threatening.
The medicines proposed as alternatives to vaccines (including ivermectin and hydrochloroquine) also have side effects. Even Zinc, an easily accessible supplement, also has possible side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste, kidney and stomach damage.
SAHPRA is monitoring research on the use of ivermectin for use in treating COVID-19 to determine whether it is safe to do so. Ivermectin is currently available in certain limited circumstances. The evidence currently is that ivermectin is not helpful in preventing or treating COVID-19. Hydrochloroquine is used to prevent or treat malaria, a parasitic disease. It is not authorized for the treatment of and has not, in clinical trials, been found to treat COVID-19.
Medicines such as a zinc and umhlonyane, as well as other supplements or herbs may help the body cope with the symptoms of COVID-19 but have not been found to treat COVID-19.
MYTH 5: South Africans being vaccinated as part of clinical trials or experiments against their will
FACT: The Vaccination Programme forms part of government’s plan to fight the spread of COVID-19 and uses vaccines authorised by SAHPRA – J&J and Pfizer. The national vaccination programme is NOT part of the clinical trial process, though there are South Africans that voluntarily participated in the clinical trials.
When the J&J vaccine was being licensed and approved, vaccines were given to healthcare workers as part of a research programme. While it was ‘not yet licenced’, it does not mean that it was not safe or effective – safety and efficacy had already been proven.
The implementation trial has now been completed and all vaccines currently being administered have been tested, trialed, and approved.
MYTH 6: Vaccines alter genes
FACT: Vaccines are designed to copy a virus and teach your body how to defeat it. There are different ways to make vaccines, but they all work in a similar way. A tiny, microscopic part of a virus is introduced safely to the body through a vaccine. This tiny part of the virus cannot make you sick, because it is too weak and small, but it trains your body how to fight the full virus and prevent infection by making special antibodies against the virus. These antibodies then latch on to the virus, or the fragment of the virus, so that your cells can kill it.
[With thanks to Section27 for technical assistance]