By Duncan Mboya

A leading Kenyan microbiologist has called for disregard of myths being spread against the COVID-19 vaccine.

Prof. Walter Jaoko, director of Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI) – Institute of Clinical Research said that the vaccines that are being used have been tested thoroughly and are safe for use.

“The fact that the vaccines were developed faster does not mean that they can be dangerous and develop side effects on beneficiaries,” he told journalists during a virtual briefing in Nairobi.

Prof.Jaoko noted that no person can get COVID-19 through the vaccine as alleged by myths that are mainly spread through social media.

The medical microbiology and tropical medicine lecturer at the University of Nairobi said that COVID-19 vaccine does not change or interact with people’s genes or DNA in any way.

He said that the side effects of the vaccine are similar to those associated with the flu vaccine but people experience side effects differently.

According to the microbiologist contrary to the misleading information that the vaccine is capable of interfering with people’s fertility, the vaccine does not affect the reproductivity.

Prof.Jaoko however said that due to the spread of the disease that required urgent development of the vaccine, trials were not conducted on children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The scientist said that women who were involved in the trials and became pregnant during the process delivered later and their children did not develop any side effects.

He noted that the study found out that adults, especially the elderly are severely affected by the virus.

“It is the responsibility of every individual to weigh the options and decide to take the vaccine or not to take, rather than listen to misleading information,” Prof.Jaoko added.

He said that no major viral disease has ever been defeated without the use of a vaccine globally.

“The vaccine reduces the number of deaths and is an essential tool in ending the pandemic,” the scientist added.

The vaccine, Prof.Jaoko said, also prevents one from being infected, prevent transmission, prevent hospital admission and prevent intensive care unit admission.

He stated that KAVI has the capacity to test and develop the vaccine in Kenya with support from development partners, and that the institute has been in the forefront in developing HIV and Ebola vaccines.