"We have high standards when we approve these vaccines." - Prof. Helen Rees


10 days ago

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There is a lot of fake news surrounding the vaccine, as mentioned by our President, and we need to ensure we don't spread fake news. Last year, according to Google, the top searched word was COVID, we think this year it’s going to be "vaccine".

• Why should we be taking the vaccine?
• Is it safe?
• A lot of people are concerned about the speed at which the vaccine was produced, can it be trusted?
• What are some of the incorrect myths people have been sharing?

Are you taking the vaccine or not?

Anele and the Club chatted to Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI to get some clarification on vaccines and how they work.

This was a really fascinating and enlightening conversation and really put our minds at ease as we all navigate through these difficult times.

The vaccine tricks the body's immune system. So vaccines are made up in different ways, but in one way or another, they expose our immune systems a little piece of a virus or bacteria. The body's immune system has a lot of different compartments and when it sees this vaccine in your system, it reacts to it and it remembers what it's seen; so the next time your body comes across the real virus your body recognises it and attacks it with all the compartments of your immune system.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

It (vaccines) is extremely clever and one of our most powerful public health intervention. It saves millions and millions of lives every year. Vaccine technology is our most powerful tool during this pandemic.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

I(f you think about it, a lot of people want to vaccinate their children. You don't want you kids to get these vicious diseases.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

So, the big question right now is whether we need a vaccine for this pandemic?

Yes, we absolutely do. We've seen just how the numbers have been going up. With the Spanish Flu, a conservative estimate is that 3% of the world was wiped out - there wasn't a vaccine then. We need to break the back on this.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

We are not going to drop our standards. I just want to assure everyone; I also chair the Drug Regulatory Authority and we are going to have high standards as we approve these vaccines. The difference is that we've managed to approve these vaccines in - what usually takes 5 - 10 years - in a year.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

When we roll out the vaccines, we are going to monitor in an ongoing manner the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. We will not allow any vaccines that haven't been properly tested or seen to be unsafe.

Helen Rees, Executive Director at the WITS RHI

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Understandably, the fear and scepticism around taking the COVID-19 vaccines have been centred around the fact that the vaccine was created so quickly.

You can also listen to the full podcast below and get as much information as possible...

You can also find out more information about the work and credentials of the WITS NRI by clicking here.

We also asked Joburgers the big question, "will you be taking the vaccination or not?"

You can also listen to the full podcast below and get as much information as possible...

We have compiled a consolidated list of tips, advice, news updates, and more to help you stay informed. This includes tips on things to keep you busy if you're working remotely.

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