News | Covid-19
As government fights the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to achieve “herd immunity” by vaccinating more than 40 million South Africans, Vas Chetty is a witness to why you should get the jab to avoid the disease’s horrifying effects.
At the ripe age of 61, in a short space of time she has not only endured eerie hallucinations, nightmares and lost her sense of taste, but has had to learn to walk again.
“There was a time that I believed I was dead. The scariest part was what I was told I was doing, pulling off oxygen tubes and telling my son to tell the family that I was dead,” she said.
Chetty was admitted to hospital in Mulbarton, south of Johannesburg, after experiencing shortness of breath.
“My oxygen level was very low. I could not breathe and felt weak. From then I remember nothing. There were nightmares and I saw myself dying,” she said.
After her ordeal, Chetty has had to deal with amnesia that to the point that she had to be reintroduced to the Pomeranian dog she had kept for four years.
“The dog was happy to see me, wagging its tail, but I could not remember his name. It was frustrating to be reminded that his name was Milo,” she said.
The mother of three said she had given up on life because of Covid-19, but was hopeful now that the vaccine has arrived.
“For me it is like choosing between life and death,” she said.
Independent health practitioner Dr Shakira Choonara said even though the vaccine was developed at speed, the process has been carefully managed and vetted by all key stakeholders to ensure patient safety.
“Should we refuse to take the vaccine we would be putting people around us at risk” she said.
Stellenbosch University epidemiologist Dr Jo Barnes said she was concerned government was not being open about the roll-out.
“The authorities have known about the pandemic for a year, yet planning seemed to catch them by surprise. Now there seems to be some control obsession as to who gets the vaccine,” she said.
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