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Prof Karim says no need to be concerned over Covid-19 vaccine side effects

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Professor Salim Abdool Karim said the safety profile of the Covid-19 vaccines was really good.

Dr Salim Abdool Karim at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa) laboratory in Umbilo, Durban. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Epidemiologist and chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said there was no reason for people to be concerned over possible side effects after receiving the Covid-19 jab.

Speaking during an interview on SABC on Tuesday, Karim said: “Any medication you take will have side effects. There is no such thing as a medication with no side effects and vaccines do have side effects. Most of them are pretty minor, they involve a bit of pain and a bit of swelling at the side of the injection as you would get with receiving a measles vaccine or any other vaccine for that matter.

“We have found certainly with six vaccines that have released their results that the safety profile of the vaccines is really good. So there’s no reason to be concerned if somebody does encounter side effects, there’s a reporting mechanism we have in place.”

In a recent survey by market research company Ipsos, of the 47% of South African respondents who said they would refuse a Covid-19 vaccine, 65% cited concern about its potential side effects.

According to the survey, concerns over side effects was one of the most commonly mentioned causes for vaccine refusal in the world.

Government is currently developing an electronic vaccination data system (EVDS). The EVDS will provide and track vaccine information (type administered and batch number); patient information, including demographics and number of doses; safety information (possible adverse events following immunisation); and details of vaccine administration sites.

There are plans to send reminders for a follow-up appointment to receive a second dose and to include an integrated track-and-trace system for defaulters – those who do not show up to receive their second shot. A dashboard system is also being developed to capture the reasons given for vaccine refusal.

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