A KITWE based media practitioner Mwakoi Njekwa has narrated how he contracted COVID-19 even after being vaccinated.

In an interview, Njekwa, however, encouraged people to get vaccinated saying he only experienced mild illness compared to those who were not vaccinated.

“Covid, for me, is something which I thought was one of those diseases, not so serious. Perhaps because it was just in one of its early days, when we would just hear about it and without much research. Even as a journalist, there are times you can lack in some areas of research. But when things started getting so serious I took interest to research more about Covid, where it emanated from and its effects. Taking a jab firstly, I would say it wasn’t an easy undertaking, I was very sceptical looking at a number of myths that were being said about the covid pandemic itself but on 28th July, 2021, I took a stance to get a jab after I did some research about covid, its effect and all what was being talked about. Then I took a stance of getting the jab and I got Johnson and Johnson,” he said.

“Must people were relaxed to say, if you got the jab, then you cannot get covid. Yes, the first few months I was a bit relaxed but after people started getting covid, even after getting the jab I just had to man up as well and follow all the guidelines that were put in place like social distancing, enhanced wearing of masks of course. Later, what happened was coincidently, on 28th December, that is when I tested positive for Covid-19. Prior to that, we had an assignment, you know the nature of our field, we get to interact with different people and all. So there was a certain commercial programme which we had, by one of the institutions which hired us to film something for them. There, we all masked up. The earlier assignment was a football match, social distancing was of course observed, masking up, I did mask up throughout. Then later on, there was an evening event which was crowded and all, I suspect that is where I would have gotten Covid maybe, I would not qualify to say that is where I got it because I don’t know. I did mingle with a lot of different people in the whole area.”

He said initially, he was hesitant to get tested because he thought he had a normal flu.

“So after that event, the following day I started feeling a bit funny like flu, and I thought it was just a normal flu. You know how normal flu just comes around then some body weakness at some point, and I thought maybe it could just be fatigue. Then the following day it was just normal work. The tricky part is that in the night when it is bed time, I had body weakness, failing to breathe properly, and just sweating and all. And I thought this could be Malaria or something, in my mind, it was Malaria, Covid was far from the symptoms I was having, it was just body weakness, sweating and a bit of thirst, I used to get thirsty a lot. And one of the colleagues I was actually with on that assignment, he went for a test and he tested positive for Covid-19 that is how he advised me to do a Covid test, I was a bit relaxed. The following day, I was off, I was just home,” Njekwa said.

“I started losing appetite then I took a stance to say ‘okay let me also get a test’. I went for a test and yes, it came out positive. From there, I don’t know if it’s mental or psychological or something, then I started feeling the effects, loss of appetite, the first few days that is, then loss of smell and running nose, too much, not [like the one] from the normal flu, just a running nose. I don’t know if it’s just that these symptoms get enhanced psychologically or something but yes, that is what I started experiencing. Then I got the medication there and then, they prescribed the medication which I was given. I followed all that then I was in quarantine for 14 days, so I just followed the same instructions which I was given from the hospital eating a lot of fruits and the usual medication which is given for Covid-19”.

Njekwa said he experienced some mild illness and he believes it could have been much worse if he wasn’t vaccinated.

“Gaining back to my feet mostly, I just used to take a lot of rest, take a lot of water, fruit juice and all. Then on the aspect of losing sense of smell, for me it was just like two to three days then I started getting back to it, not the way it used to hit other people. Maybe it could be the jab that we were getting, maybe the vaccination does help actually because when you have covid, according what I have been told and researched, when you are not vaccinated and someone who is vaccinated, there is a difference because it gets mild a bit when you are vaccinated which is just the truth from what I have experienced. For me, it was not that much severe, the appetite after two or three days of medication, because the medication is for five days, appetite was just okay, it was normal appetite, even the body weakness reduced in the night I would easily sleep as compared to the first few days when I tested positive for Covid. After like one week and some days, I got back on my feet, but still in quarantine. I used to exercise a bit as well and when I felt better, I went for a test again and it came out negative,” he said.

He urged people to get vaccinated and always keep their guard up by following all the prescribed infection prevention techniques.

“Getting back from the Covid experience, I still noticed how people had started relaxing on the guidelines of social distancing, masking up and all. People got too relaxed even when cases were swelling up. When you got into a public transport, people were and still not masking up, but from the experience I had for masking up and following all the five golden rules, I really took them seriously, because this is something I went through and felt it. Even up to now I have seen the way people are getting too relaxed. I think the advice I would give is that let us not relax, this pandemic is real, it is here with us we just have to know how best to stay with it. The other advice I would give is that people who are not vaccinated, I think it is just proven that everyone gets vaccinated, I know it’s a personal choice yes, but vaccination is something for me I would advocate for in my individual capacity as a media practitioner. Even after recovering from Covid, body weaknesses will still be there like getting tired easily, like my body is not yet fully back to recovery. I wouldn’t say I’m really really back to recovery, the process takes time to fully recover. So that is basically what I can say about my experience about Covid 19,” said Njekwa.