"Jab to beat Corona!" SC Zim Country Director advises
“Jab to beat Corona!” Save the Children Country Director, Heather Kerr advises Save the Children staff and members of the public to get vaccinated as a measure of protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. She recently received two jabs of the Sinopharm vaccine at Wilkins hospital in Harare. Read Q & A session with her as she shares her vaccination experience and her thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: Briefly tell us about your experience of getting the COVID-19 jab.
A: I went to Wilkins Hospital for my first vaccination on Tuesday, 23rd March. There were three queues. I joined the one with the most shade and the one that looked the shortest! A nurse came to tell the people waiting to be vaccinated how the process worked and what the possible side effects of the vaccine might be. She explained that we should sit down for 30 minutes right after being vaccinated to see if there were any immediate side effects. The process is quite slow as nothing is computerised. When it is your turn you first give all your details to a nurse, who enters them in a register, and then you proceed to the vaccination station to be vaccinated. Once you have received your jab, you then show you ID to another nurse before receiving a vaccination certificate. I recently received my second jab. I experienced no discomfort when I received the jab and haven’t experienced any side effects so far.
Q. How significant is the fact that you, as the Country Director is among the first three staff members to be vaccinated?
A: I was vaccinated because I am eligible under the Zimbabwe government’s vaccination strategy. I believe in vaccination. I have been vaccinated since I was a child. I continue to receive vaccinations against tropical diseases, such as Yellow Fever which is prevalent in many parts of the world where Save the Children works. When I was working in DRC in 2019, 6,000 children died of Measles because they had not been vaccinated – the needless loss of many young lives. If there is significance to me being vaccinated as the Country Director, then it is because I believe in vaccination and I believe in leading by example. I want to show the rest of the Save the Children Zimbabwe staff that the vaccine is safe, I want to encourage them to get the older members of their families vaccinated, as they are eligible right now, and I want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated when their time comes. Vaccines save lives!
Q: Why is it important for everyone to get vaccinated?
A: Vaccination will save lives. You need to protect yourself and your families. The vaccine will help to protect you. If you have had COVID-19, it does not mean you are immune. You too need to get vaccinated. The Covid-19 vaccine works by teaching the immune system how to recognise and fight the virus that causes COVID-19 and protects you from getting seriously sick from COVID-19 according to CDC (Centre for Disease Control).
Q. What advice do you have for Save the Children Zimbabwe staff and the public regarding getting the Covid-19 jab?
A: Go and get vaccinated as soon as you are offered the jab!! It is a simple process and it is free! Eventually, countries will start asking for Covid-19 vaccination certificates, as they do with Yellow Fever, for international travel. So go and get the jab!
Q: What do you recommend in terms of awareness raising about C0VID-19 vaccination to the public?
A: I recommend that the Government does a massive vaccine communication campaign. Organisations, like Save the Children, can help with this and we can raise awareness on the importance of the vaccine in all the communities where we work in. But we all need to have common messages and these need to come from the Zimbabwean Government. We are there to support them in this important work!