Sunday Mirror

Don’t be frightened out of Covid jab


When we learned that a vaccine had been developed in under a year to fight Covid-19, I was very sceptical.

My main concern was how could we possibly produce a vaccine which normally takes 10 years in less than a year? How could we trust it when there hadn’t been enough time to really understand the side effects?

But the answer to these genuine worries – which are shared by many others – is down to science, technology and government will.

However, this has not silenced the anti-vaxxers. According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, an estimated 5.4 million people in the UK are intent on spreading misinforma­tion and mistrust about the vaccines.

They use social media to target the vulnerable, including ethnic minority communitie­s which are at a higher risk of catching Covid.

So far, well over 30 million people have had their first dose of the vaccine and around six million have had their second dose. Prof Paul Elliott, director of the REACT programme from Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “The fall in infections our study has observed since January demonstrat­es that national public health measures are working.”

While we shouldn’t celebrate too early, the signs are good, so there are real hopes of getting out of the measures which have restricted our lives for so long. But suddenly we’ve been hit with the news of a causal link between the AstraZenec­a jab and rare blood clots. This is exactly the “gift” that anti-vaxxers have been waiting for to provoke panic and derail the vaccinatio­n rollout.

I’ve had my first AstraZenec­a jab and I didn’t have a single side effect. I felt so proud and lucky to have had the vaccinatio­n, and to play my part in helping the country come out of lockdown.

Has news of the blood clots put me off ? Emphatical­ly no. For me, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Risks and medicine go hand in hand. There are risks every time we take medicines.

With every treatment, there is a leaflet which outlines the unlikely but possible side effects you might experience.

For instance, I’m on HRT. I decided to take it because my quality of life was being impaired due to hot flushes, loss of libido and mood swings.

I had to take on board the possible side effects which include breast cancer, blood clots, vaginal bleeding and indigestio­n.

To help prevent any side effects, the guidance is to ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle, which includes watching one’s weight, and alcohol and tobacco intake. I’ve been on HRT for three years and I feel so much better.

If you’ve been frightened by the associatio­n of blood clots with the AZ jab, bear in mind that of the 54 million doses administer­ed across Europe and the UK to date, fewer than 300 cases have been detected.

By having the vaccine, you are saving yourself from a highly

» infectious, potentiall­y fatal virus. I applaud singer Rebecca Ferguson for highlighti­ng “abuse” she has experience­d in the music industry. She is now calling for a Parliament­ary inquiry to provide greater regulation to protect artists.

Rebecca said: “At one point in my career I collapsed three times in a day. I was unconsciou­s. My head hit the floor. No ambulance was called. This is one of many stories. This is the reality of artist mistreatme­nt.”

To put your head above the parapet to protect others is courageous. I support Rebecca’s drive to get this “archaic system” to be held accountabl­e for its actions.

Medical experts agree benefits outweigh risks

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SELLING POINT Jab protects against Covid

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