Features, Health and Society Editor
People Living with HIV representative on the National AIDS Council Board Tendayi Westerhof has urged Zimbabweans to take the Covid-19 Sinopharm jab.
Westerhof who is also National Director Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition –Zimbabwe who received her first Sinopharm jab in Harare on Monday said it is important for people to get vaccinated for Covid-19 as this protects them from infection of the coronavirus and also protect others around them.
“Vaccination is the best way of preventing the spread of coronavirus. It is important for people to get vaccinated.
“I am living with HIV and I was vaccinated. I have not experienced any side effects,” she told The Herald yesterday.
Westerhof said sometimes there are too many myths and misconceptions about vaccines, but it is important to bear in mind that vaccines have been there since time immemorial.
“For instance, every 10 years I get vaccinated for yellow fever because I travel a lot. There are some countries where you cannot enter if you are not vaccinated for yellow fever. You will get that facility at the airport upon entry if not vaccinated,” she said.
Westerhof added that the Covid-19 jab is just a vaccine like any other.
“If anything, the Covid-19 virus is deadlier. The only protection that’s on offer is to get vaccinated. Once vaccinated your immune system gets a boost and can fight the virus which is highly contagious,” she added.
She said: “Even if you get sick from Covid-19 infection, you are likely not to experience severe sickness as compared to someone not vaccinated against Covid-19.”
Westerhof said as advocates, they are working hard to ensure that people living with HIV have universal access to Covid-19 vaccines.
“Those people who require vaccines should have them. No one will be forced, just like taking an HIV test it remains voluntary,” she noted.
Westerhof added that her HIV positive status was not a barrier to get vaccinated.