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Contracting COVID-19 is worse than vaccine side effects,” says Ministry of Health and Wellness

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Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 1:38 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is addressing fears that taking the COVID-19 vaccine might cause harmful side effects by noting that contracting the virus without the vaccine’s protection can be worse than any of the vaccine’s side effects.

Maternal and Child Health Advisor for the MOHW, Dr. Natalia Beer, explained today that everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine is briefed on the side effects orally at the vaccination site and is also given an information sheet when they leave. The side effects of the vaccine are generally mild and include redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site; headaches, joint pain, muscle ache, body ache, and fever.

“If you compare that against COVID-19 it’s hours, two days maximum of feeling discomfort, compared to COVID-19,” Beer said. “The major side effects are mild, and with the second dose (of vaccine) it is even milder.”

The Ministry provides a phone number for those who have taken their vaccines to call in the event that they become ill after taking the vaccine. Beer stressed that she has taken the vaccine herself despite having several comorbidity issues because she is not willing to risk contracting COVID-19.

“What we recommend for persons that have comorbidities, and they need to be reassured that the vaccine is safe for them, we encourage them, go to your treating physician get an assessment. Get his opinion if you can receive the vaccine,” Beer said.

She added that the eldest person in Belize to receive the vaccine is a 98-year-old woman from Orange Walk.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some less common symptoms include aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell. More serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. The virus is responsible for over 2.74 million deaths worldwide, according to Worldometer.

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