MANY Covid-19 vaccine shunners rush to get the jab immediately after recovering from the illness, but not 45-year-old Kholisile Ngono.

Ngono, who now suffers a persistent cough as a long term effect of Covid-19, insists she’s much better off without the vaccine and puts all her faith in home made ginger concoctions.

“Well I don’t know if that is how I got it but I’m just suspecting that I might have gotten it at the office because we had a number of cases on our floor, so thereafter I also experienced. So now the thing is when I tested positive, what they told me was it’s been in your body for some time, I think I got it just within the office, I may have been asymptomatic and maybe with time, the symptoms started showing. When I got Covid, I wasn’t vaccinated and I’m still not and it is mainly because of what I have heard about the vaccine replacing your immune system, like it becomes the one fighting in your body and replaces your natural immune system so that has brought some fear in me,” Ngono said in an interview.

“So I thought it is better I boost my immune system so that it’s able to fight the Covid-19. That is how I have been on those ginger herbal staff and I’m trying my best to boost my immune systems. So that is the main reason why I haven’t had my vaccine.”

She recalled that she suffered intense illness for about three days after testing positive for Covid-19.

“Some time back in February, It was in like on a Thursday, on Wednesday I started feeling flu like symptoms and by Thursday, the flu symptoms were severe so I was at the office then I was like ‘let me just work since weekend I will be free’. But by Friday morning, Thursday into Friday, it was bad, I was feeling very dizzy and I was vomiting and I had diarrhoea, all that at the same time, that’s how we decided to go to the clinic and that’s how I tested positive. Then now when I started medication from Friday to Tuesday and I was feeling better so it took me about three days or so,” she said.

“I have constantly put myself on the ginger, lemon and honey concoction, I take it every morning. And when I feel cough like, it has gotten better. For the past two weeks, I’m not experiencing it like before, like when I feel cold, I start coughing. Because I have just made it a habit that every morning I take that concoction, I think it’s helping me a lot. For long term effects, there is a cough that I have that doesn’t go away completely and my sense of smell also, it took a bit of some time to have it back. For the cough, every time I feel a bit of a cold, I will start coughing.”

Ngono, however, argued that says she can’t get vaccinated because some learned people and doctors don’t support the vaccine.

“I have never taken time to go to the clinics and find out, I have just been googling and seeing what learned people and doctors are saying about it. Some are for it, some are against it, so the fact is that these learned people have not decided exactly what it is, some are going on, some are against it, so I feel I’m much safer without it, not until I hear a good conclusion. Otherwise my immune system, God made it strong and if I keep trying my best to eat the right foods and my way of living like exercising and so on, when I follow those steps, I think I’m doing the right thing to build my immune system even against many other diseases, I think for me that is the way to go,” Ngono said.

She said she also adheres to some of the infection prevention guidelines.

“Life goes and I have become more conscious of the public and whenever I get into someone’s office, I wear a face mask. Every time someone comes into my office, I wear a mask and I will tell them to wear a mask also and of course being stigmatised at work, people will come, they will feel uncomfortable to be around you especially immediately after I came back but I just try to brush it off by making fun of it all, just joke about it,” said Ngono.

But commenting on this in an interview, Ministry of Health permanent secretary for administration Dr George Magwende lamented that such myths about the vaccine was derailing government’s efforts to reach herd immunity.

“It is very clear, in every house profession, that prevention is better than cure, prevention is actually cheaper than cure. Vaccinations are one mode of preventive measures that we employ in our health services delivery okay, and the issue of vaccinations is not a new phenomenon, we were all vaccinated when we were children, when we were growing up. We were vaccinated against polio, against measles and so on. So with an advent of Covid, as you know Covid can be devastating, so one of the modalities of prevention of severe disease in most cases, even in prevention of death once one gets infected with Covid is by way of vaccination. We have a number of vaccines on the market, in the country we have adequate supply of vaccines but what we have been struggling with is basically people’s attitude as you would have gotten from the interviews you had it’s the myths that they have,” Dr Magwende said.

He said he had personally even gotten a booster shot and he had not melted.

“You get vaccinated not because your neighbour says it’s correct, in as much as that helps, but you get vaccinated to protect yourself and to protect your family as well. So it is very important, especially you, colleagues of ours in the media fraternity to help remove these myths. I got my booster and I’m still alive, I’m not melted and I feel I’m better protected than those individuals that are still shrugging their feet to get vaccinated. This is the first opportunity to get vaccinated, those that are dilly-dallying unfortunately, they might have themselves in a situation where it might be too late to get the vaccines and we don’t want that,” said Magwende.

“Each and every life is important and you see, for now we can speak about it comfortably and we are relaxed because the threat seems to be very subdued, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. This is the virus that we are still studying, this is a virus that’s still evolving, it’s a disease entity that we poorly understand, so we don’t know what tomorrow brings. We are still emphasising on people wearing masks, hand sanitising, reduce gathering sizes, it is because we are not vaccinating many people as we should. Our staff is ready to vaccinate, you’ve seen they have gone to shopping malls, if you go to some shopping malls, you will find a team of people seated in a corner waiting for people to get vaccinated.”