KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of Afghans, including health workers, avoid getting Covid-19 vaccine, while public health experts say the vaccine has no side effects and is mandatory.
According to reports, 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from India and 668,000 doses from COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access or COVAX have so far assisted to Afghanistan.
The administration of Covid-19 vaccine was started in Afghanistan from Kabul on February 23. According to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), 50,000 people in the central and northern parts of Afghanistan have so far been injected the vaccine.
Pajhwok Afghan News recently talked with a number of Afghans in Kabul and some provinces of the country about Covid-19 vaccination and most of the interviewees claim that Covid-19 vaccine is not verified by the World Health Organization and it probably has side effects.
We do not get vaccine because we doubt its quality:
A number of interviewees say they doubt the quality of Covid-19 vaccine and that is the reason they avoid it.
An otolaryngologist in Kabul who wished to go unnamed told Pajhwok, “I did not get the vaccine so far because I doubt its quality and I fear it is not verified by the WHO.”
He stressed on following health guidelines such as social distance, using mask, sanitizing hands and others and said that he would not be infected with the virus by following these guidelines.
Qamardin PoyaAzizi, a resident of Shiberghan, capital of Jawzjan province, said, “A number of doctors and nurses who are my friends say that they would not get the Covid-19 vaccine as it probably has serious side effects.”
Also a civil society activist, Azizi said that he was confused whether to get Covid-19 vaccine or not.
MahmodMahmodi, a resident of Zaranj city, capital of Nimroz province, said that he would never get Covid-19 vaccine because he doubted its quality.
“I read on Facebook that a doctor died in Bamyan province after getting Covid-19 vaccine, some people say that Covid-19 vaccine assisted to Afghanistan is for test,” he said.
I won’t get vaccine; I passed Covid-19 infection:
Some people believe that their immune system would defend future infections after recovering from Covid-19. Those once infected in the past do not need vaccination.
AtiqullahShahryar, a Facebook user said, “Those who have recovered from Covid-19 infection do not need vaccine because they are naturally vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, Nadia, a maternity professional in a government hospital, told Pajhwok that she did not want to get Covid-19 vaccine because she had passed the virus infection two months ago.
“My body has produced antibody against Covid-19 and I do not need to get vaccinated,” she said.
NajibaAzimi, another resident of Zaranj city, said, “I have passed Covid-19 infection, it was a hard period, I got cough, fever, difficulty in breath and body pain, I spent 14 days in hardship, but I was recovered to normal after some days and felt improvements.”
“I am not ready to get Covid-19 vaccine, because I do not need it. My aunt’s daughter is a doctor who says that my body’s immunity has gotten strong after infection and I will not get infected again,” she added.
Vaccine is a chance, give it a try: Doctors in Facebook
Dr. Mohammad HanifNabizada, in a post on his Facebook page said, “I was also vaccinated a day earlier and I was also on duty the following night, I had a slight fever and body pain, I am good today, I advise all the people, particularly my fellow professionals to vaccinate themselves and explain to others too.”
He said the vaccine is not harmful, but good for eradication of Covid-19.
Dr. Nasrat, another health professional in a Facebook post, said, “I personally experienced it; but vaccine creates special antibody, so we should not lose the chance of vaccination.”
He said that despite speculations that vaccine caused blood clots in human body in some European countries, but it was not verified and no such cases recorded in Afghanistan.
“I believe this vaccine is a chance and give it a try, getthe Covid-19 vaccine,” he said.
Lower public awareness cause fear among people: Experts
Dr. Baz Mohammad Shirzad, a health professional criticized MoPH and said that some people including health workers in some provinces avoid getting Covid-19 vaccine due to fears.
He stressed that MoPH should provide enough public awarenss programs about Covid-19 vaccine so people would not fear it.
Meanwhile, Dr. SayedMasihNoori, a health advisor to the Presidential Palace, criticized the Public Health Ministry and said that the ministry had no plan for public awareness about Covid-19 vaccine.
He said that many people feared the vaccine because they had no information about it.
Covid-19 vaccination is based on program: MoPH
DastgirNazari, MoPH spokesman, said that administering Covid-19 was a technical program and it would be implemented following a plan like in other countries.
About concerns of some people about Covid-19 vaccination, he said that the vaccine was safe and had no any quality problems.
“This vaccine is developed by Oxford University and it is produced in three major factories in (England, South Korea and India), he added, saying that the vaccine was verified by WHO and is currently under administration in 13 countries.
Nazari said that administering Covid-19 vaccine was based on categories of people and it caused no side effects.
About people’s fears, he said some people were worried about the vaccine due to some health issues raised in some European countries.
He added that the ministry had started public awareness programs about the vaccine through social councils, ministries of information and culture, rural development and rehabilitation and Hajj and Islamic affairs.
“This Investigative Report was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Pajhwok and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.”