Gogo with high blood pressure couldn’t wait to get the jab

Vaccine Site

Pontsho Pilani

Fewer and fewer seniors might be choosing to get vaccinated, but as a fourth wave of Covid-19 looms, Joyce Mthimkhulu* hopes to boost the seniors’ confidence in the jab.

The 52-year-old has lived with high blood pressure for 22 years. Because of this, she has been worried that she would get Covid-19 and die, especially after learning that people living with one or more diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to get very sick from Covid.

“I was really scared of getting Covid-19 because I saw how many people were dying of it, some people that I know died,” said the Soweto grandmother. 

At the end of June this year, Mthimkhulu’s fear became a reality when she contracted the virus. 

“Covid-19 is cruel. You always have that feeling that you will die any minute. You live with the fear of ‘what if I die?’ and this is because of what it does to your body,” she explained. 

The Department of Health says people must wait for 35 days after testing positive for Covid-19 or 30 days after their last symptoms before getting vaccinated.

It is important to get vaccinated even if you’ve had Covid-19 before because scientists don’t yet know how long Covid antibodies can protect you from getting sick again. Indeed, some people have caught Covid again even after getting the jab, but even if they do, scientists agree they are much less likely to get very sick from it. 

Mthimkhulu was part of the first group of over 50-year-olds to get the Pfizer jab when the government opened the vaccine programme for the group. 

“I cannot tell you how relieved I was when I got that jab on my arm in that Dischem tent at Jabulani Mall.”

Clinical trials show that the Covid vaccine starts protecting you two weeks after your second dose. The vaccine protects against severe disease and death in healthy people, and if you do get infected, the vaccine reduces the amount of virus your body makes. 

Mthimkhulu says many of her church friends got vaccinated after they saw that she also got the jab. She is a church leader and said many of the congregants look up to her. 

*Not her real name

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