COVID-19 vaccination critical for women

By Lubalethu Ndlovu

I distinctly recall the day I was vaccinated. It was on the 19th of April 2021. I had no intention of getting vaccinated because I was still riding high on the conspiracy theories.

The United Bulawayo Hospital is one of the centres where COVID-19 vaccination is done. Photo: Bulawayo24 news

My parents awoke that morning and decided to pull me along because they are elderly citizens who are more vulnerable. We left and headed to the United Bulawayo Hospital, where the majority of the vaccine recipients were from companies since a lot of people had not embraced the vaccine.

We were approached by a medical worker who explained the name of the vaccine and its effects. The medical worker highlighted women should refrain from getting pregnant at least six months after getting vaccinated. She said the vaccine could harm the child’s development.

We were also told that the vaccine had no effects on the birth control methods. A lot of information was availed to us especially on birth control. I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask about but the situation was awkward since I am not married and my parents were around.

I observed as people entered and exited the clinic. Some people emerged from the vaccination room looking terrified. Some looked weak from the injection and this terrified me. But there was no turning back from the process.

At last I entered the vaccination room. I filled out a form, then proceeded to another room to be vaccinated. That day, my needle fear came to reality. I was terrified of the needle, but I sat through it. After the whole process, I received my vaccination card.

I was exhausted after the immunization, so I sat outside to regain my strength before returning home.

After almost a month, I went back to the clinic for examinations. I felt my body give up an hour into the examination process, which had begun at 14:00 hours. I was caught by extreme fear and anxiety. I was afraid that I would be diagnosed with some unknown ailment emanating from the injection. I got so weak that my hands cramped. I also developed a severe headache. With my mask on, I felt suffocating and every time I took it off, a medical staff would be around to urge me to keep the mask on.

Suddenly, I became dizzy. But I knew that if I mentioned it, I would be ordered to stop the examination and wait for a supplementary exam. So I soldered on and gathered my strength to continue.

As soon as the examination was over, I rushed to lay down since I was exhausted. I felt like I had not slept for many days. I went to sleep for a couple of hours and awoke feeling much better.

Even as misleading news and rumours concerning vaccination side effects continue to propagate, I am grateful that I was vaccinated.

It is very important for women to be vaccinated because they spend a lot of time on the streets looking for money. Most women are vendors interacting with many people at their places of work. This means that they are at high risks of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and even worse passing it on to their family members.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, when more people in a community are vaccinated, it becomes difficult for the disease to circulate because most of the people it encounters are protected and cannot contract it.[Ma6] The more people who get vaccinated the lesser the risk of getting the disease in a community and this concept is called herd immunity. This is the reason why it is important for all eligible people in our communities to be vaccinated.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine was the best decision I made in 2021, and I would do it again if I could.

This article was written as part of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) project that seeks to strengthen the voices of women and girls, especially under the grim impact of the Coronavirus (COVID 19). CCCD has used the WhatsApp mobile application to train women and girls so that they express their voices on what is happening in their communities.

Creative Centre for Communication and Development, Zimbabwe