My COVID-19 vaccination experience

By Julie Ndlela

To say l was terrified is an understatement. The thought of an injection made me think over a lot, which became the main reason for my procrastination.

Besides the fact that l am scared of an injection, going to get a jab that has people talking negatively about, one with many unanswered questions terrified me.

Vaccination centres in Bulawayo are often crowded and this deters some people who want to get vaccinated. Photo: Julie Ndlela

When the semester opened in June, we were told that the University clinic had the vaccine. Some students quickly grabbed the opportunity to get vaccinated, but some like me still had unanswered questions. I was sceptical because of some negative information that was spreading widely on social media platforms.

It took me time to finally make a decision to get vaccinated. To be honest, I only considered vaccination after threats of being left out of the day to day activities if I was not vaccinated. There was also more positive information circulating about the vaccine.

When it finally dawned on me, l set out to go and get vaccinated. However, the country at large had no vaccine, so it became a waiting game. When it finally became easier to get the vaccine, I set about to get vaccinated.

I remember waking up early in the morning with my sister to go and queue for the vaccine. Although we were early, there were scores of people ahead of us in the queue.

The vaccination team came late. The people who were meant to maintain order were the ones who were causing chaos by creating more than three queues. Those who came under the arrangements of companies were prioritized regardless of who came early. This caused mayhem and people started to complain threatening to go inside. Members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police had to be summoned to instil order.

It took another hour of waiting again for people to be sent in batches to get into the vaccination rooms. When my turn came l was beyond exhausted. I was already feeling sick. To add to that, I was suddenly gripped by the fear of an injection.

When I got inside, it was the total opposite of outside. The chaos and disorder was all gone. It was all orderly and this calmed me. I only realized later that l was worrying over nothing.

After my jab l felt a sense of relief, that I was now safer. However, that feeling was short-lived as the side effects started to kick in. I had just got home that day when l felt discomfort on my left arm where l was injected. I could not lift heavy objects with my left arm. That was just a fraction of the problems that followed. As the day proceeded, I started feel out of touch with my body. I was not really dizzy but l did not have energy to do anything. At times I had blurry eyesight.

I consulted my aunt who is a nurse and she told me that these were the temporary side effects of the injection. This calmed me a bit because I was almost regretting getting the injection.

After a while, the side effects started to wear off and l started to feel good again.

When I went for the vaccination I had seen a lot of disinformation about the drug. So when I started to exhibit the side effects of the vaccine, all the negative information i had read affected me. I do not regret vaccination because I understand that it is for my own safety and I would recommend everyone who has not vaccinated to do so.

People should rely on official information sources so that they get accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccination. Social media is derailing the vaccination campaign by peddling conspiracy theories.

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