By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West
THE coronavirus has potential to cause infertility and loss of sex drive among both men and women, contrary to unfounded claims that life-saving vaccines were causing these side-effects.
Addressing journalists attending a two-day HIV/Aids workshop in Chinhoyi Wednesday, Health and Child Care deputy minister, John Mangwiro said “prophets of doom” were propagating falsehoods alleging vaccines such as Sputnik V, Sinopharm, and SiphoVac were responsible for infertility and loss of libido among sexually active people.
“There are always prophets of doom who talk of Covid-19 vaccines as the ones that cause infertility and loss of libido. Vaccine is dead virus and it doesn’t cause these problems,” Mangwiro said.
“It is, in fact, the disease that can hit the ovaries in women, and in men it affects the testicles and cause infertility. The virus gives strokes, heart failure, it can eat your lungs and your liver.”
He also indicated that the potent Covid-19 virus, and not the life-saving vaccines, could also result in acute renal failure, and sufferers end up needing dialysis treatment.
Mangwiro appealed to the media to clear myths, misinformation, disinformation and fake news about vaccines as the country pushes to attain 60% herd immunity by December 31, 2021.
He said the nation currently stands at 38% herd immunity and needed the media to help in the cause.
In a bid to drive the campaign towards achieving herd immunity, government had taken vaccination to the 16- and 17-year age-group in schools and would soon roll out in colleges and universities, he said.
“We currently stand at 38% herd immunity, and we are saying our target of 60% should be achieved by December. It’s not only the health ministry’s responsibility. Even you journalists must play your part, l want you to help us get the herd immunity. I came here to concretise our relationship as government and as a ministry. As journalists we want you to make a difference to say this is a national achievement when it happens. I want you to be part of the success story,” said Mangwiro.
He added: “The anxiety we are experiencing in the country today due to Covid-19 is not totally different from that we experienced when HIV was first identified. Despite that, we managed to turn the tide and built a resilient response to HIV for which our country has been recognised as a best practice.
“I am sure we can rely on the experience we garnered in the response to HIV to effectively confront Covid-19. One of these experiences relates to the importance and role of the media in disseminating health information.”
He said the emergence of Covid-19 has once again brought to the fore the relevance of the media.
“As the media and health fraternities, let us continue to work collectively to tame the two epidemics. The promotion of relevant behaviour changes such as social distancing, hand sanitisation, wearing face masks and the uptake vaccination is a difficult endeavour in the face of hardened behaviours,” added Mangwiro.