–Both people living with and without HIV have been vaccinated in Zambia and they share their experiences.
By Kelvin Mbewe
SOME Zambians that have completed their dose of the Astrazeneca covid 19 vaccine have recommended others to get vaccinated owing to what they described as improved immune system after they got their first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The recipients of the vaccine include people without and those with underlying conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension among others.
They however reported having experienced side effects such as fever, headache, pain on the side of the arm where the injection was given.
These side effects where mostly experienced in a day, while some said to have had experienced it for about a week.
Mr Wilson Banda aged 63 of Kapata township in Chipata said he experienced improved health after receiving his first vaccination.
Mr Banda is living positively with HIV.
“Yes I had a fever after getting the injection but later on I appreciated the efficiency of it when everybody in the house got infected by a flu, I was the only one that didn’t get the infection despite my old age,” he said.
Another recipient Bertha Chipemba is a coivd 19 survivor and also a recipient of the coivd 19 astrazeneca vaccine.
“I got covid 19 before I got the vaccine and my experience was horrible, I was really in pain. I was lucky I did not reach the oxygen level. I then got the vaccine and got infected again but the experience was different, I could feel the flu but it was not that strong, it was very mild,” she said.
And United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate for Chipata central member of parliament Reuben Mtolo expressed shock when he found the que for receiving the covid 19 vaccine at Kapata clinic in Chipata empty.
“I’M in a campaign trail and I have just lost my campaign manager Mr Kiliti Phiri. He has died of covid 19. Another guy on the campaign trail is admitted due to the same virus. Im the only one that is okay and it’s because I got the first dose of AstraZeneca,” he said.
Mr Phiri has just received his second jab of the covid 19 vaccination.
And Centers for Disease control (CDC) Dr Jonas Hines says research on how the vaccines react to people living with HIV is currently underway but that information that has been gathered so far proves that a person living with HIV like any other person respond to covid vaccines as long as they adhear to treatment.
Dr Hines said this during an online media science café (Mesica) meeting which was discussing the differences and similarities between HIV and covid 19.
He said the similarities in the viruses are that both HIV and covid 19 are spread through viruses and that they both cause death.
Dr Hines however said that the two viruses differ in that HIV is a chronic infection while covid 19 is not chronic.
“HIV is a virus that our immune system is unable to control and eliminate. It causes a chronic infection that lasts for and not like covid 19 where flu like symptoms last only for a short time. Over time hiv destroys the immune system and optimistic infections such as qnuemonia and others lead to death,” he said.
Meanwhile Dr Hines said all the vaccines that have been recommended by the world health organisation (WHO) are effective with regards fighting the covid 19 pandemic.
And the Ministry of health on 15 th July, 2021 announced that the country has cumulatively admistered 189, 408 dose 1 vaccinations (182, 509 AstraZeneca and 6,899 sinopharm).
The ministry’s Facebook page states that Zambia is expecting more vaccines.