COVID jab doesn't make you magnetic: UWC Research Week tackles vaccine fears

The fifth edition of UWC's annual event will over the next few days bring together scientists, linguists and other academics to reflect on their contribution in helping South Africa and the world tackle the pandemic.

A woman receives a dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from a healthcare worker at the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion on 13 August 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

CAPE TOWN - COVID-19 myths and concerns will come under the microscope during the University of the Western Cape (UWC)'s 2021 Research Week.

The fifth edition of UWC's annual event will over the next few days bring together scientists, linguists and other academics to reflect on their contribution in helping South Africa and the world tackle the pandemic.

Panelists on Tuesday morning emphasised the importance of clear messaging to make information accessible to everyone.

Researchers from each faculty will share details of their work over the past 18 months to help people better understand and buffer the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UWC virologist Professor Bertram Fielding addressed some frequently asked questions around coronavirus vaccines.

"These vaccines are not haram. I get asked that question a lot. Does it contain pork bits making it non-acceptable to Muslims? No, it does not. Does it make you magnetic? No, it does not."

Fielding said that the benefits of inoculation far outweighed the risks.

"There are adverse effects but it's a very small percentage. If you look at the billions of vaccine doses given worldwide, there are milder side effects which is not unique to this vaccine its seen for all other vaccines and they're typically resolved between three and three-and-a-half days."

The impact of the pandemic on food security, as well the dynamics around remote learning in underserved settings, are some of the themes that will also be discussed.

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