FORMER Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) president Jerome Kanyika says Zambians should not be afraid of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine once it is in the country because it is safe.

Some citizens expressed mixed feelings over the COVID-19 vaccines, citing fears over its safety after global reports indicated that some recipients, predominantly senior citizens, had passed away shortly after receiving vaccines.

But in an interview, Kanyika urged Zambians not to fear receiving the vaccine, saying the vaccine meant well for everyone in the fight against COVID-19.

“We need to makes sure that we protect our families and the people we are found with and we can only do this by making sure that we get vaccinated. Please do get the vaccine. The people should not get scared to be vaccinated as the vaccine is very much safe and means well for everyone to win the fight against COVID-19. Government should also include teachers, pastors and police officers being the first people to receive the vaccine as all these people meet or are found with a lot of other people,” Kanyika said.

“People are saying that the vaccine can alter the DNA, which is not true as the vaccine we are going to receive from both Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna. MRNA vaccines help train the immune system to identify the spike protein on the surface of the Coronavirus and create an immune response. The vaccines cannot genetically modify humans.”

He saidthat the myth that the vaccine could cause infertility was equally false.

“The other thing that we have heard is that the vaccine will cause a serious allergic reaction. Yes, the vaccine can cause serious allergic reactions and it can be observed in 11 patients per one million and it’s treatable. The manufacturer, CDC, and other bodies have advised that people who have allergies to any part of the vaccine, including PEG or a related compound called polysorbate, to avoid these first shorts. The other myth we have heard is that the vaccine will cause infertility, which is false. About 37,000 women who participated in the clinical trials for Pfizer were given pregnancy tests before they were accepted to be in the study and if you are pregnant, they were excluded. During the trial, 23 conceived likely by accident; 12 in the vaccine and 11 in the placebo group. These have very healthy babies without any problems,” said Kanyika.

“The other question people are talking about is the speedy making of the vaccine. We should all know that COVID-19 is affecting the health and economic needs of the country. Not only that, but it’s also killing the people very fast as compared to any disease we currently have, hence the speed works.”