Health Ministry Dismisses Viral Video Of Woman Claiming She Reacted To Vaccine

THE Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Medical Director (PMD),  Dr Maphios Siamuchembu has poured water on a video currently making rounds on social media of a 27 year old woman, Cleopatra Ncube from Cowdry Park in Bulawayo who claims to have developed an adverse reaction that led to her fingers and lower limbs drying up soon after getting jabbed with the Sinovac, a Chinese manufactured vaccine being administered in Zimbabwe.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to the viral video, Cleopatra took the vaccine on July 27, 2021 when health officials were conducting inoculations in her neighborhood leading to her falling sick soon afterwards. Her condition according to the video deteriorated and she was taken to the hospital three days later where she was then admitted for two weeks. However, her condition worsened and the doctors have since told her that she should get her feet and legs amputated.

Reacting to the video, Dr Siamuchembu  however said the girl in question had underlying health conditions which made her prone to Dry gangrene, a type of infection that involves the drying and dying off of the skin, fingers, feet and the lower legs that looks brown to purplish blue or black.

I would like to set the record straight that we first of all, have vaccinated over three million Zimbabweans using the vaccines that we have. Of those three million people which have received the vaccine, she is the only one who seems to have developed the symptoms that she claims are from the vaccines.

“The second thing I would like to clear is that I saw the patient personally, I saw her at United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) where she came and we admitted her in the ward. I am a surgeon and I was working at UBH as a general surgeon before I was appointed as the PMD, so i know this patient specifically and i know that she has got another chronic disease that we know predisposes her to the gangrene that she has,” said Dr  Siamuchembu

Dr Siamuchembu also said her condition was beyond salvaging and there is nothing that anyone could have done to address her advanced gangrene at whatever stage she could have come to the hospital.

“In other words, that gangrene could not be stopped once it has started. I think that the gangrene is caused by her chronic condition that she has and I think it is not the vaccine that has caused the gangrene and I think she could not be helped once the gangrene had started. It can’t be cured, that condition can’t be cured. I would like to advice the public to disregard the video and not fear the vaccines thinking it could cause gangrene.

“So far, we have vaccinated over three million Zimbabweans and we have vaccinated hundreds of thousands of people that are vaccinated in Bulawayo using Sinovac and other vaccines and none has had any serious side effects locally. The public should not be discouraged from vaccination by that video. I think it is associating the gangrene wrongly with the vaccine.”

According to medical experts, dry gangrene may develop slowly and it occurs most commonly in people who have diabetes or blood vessel disease, such as atherosclerosis. Gangrene happens when tissues in one’s body die after a loss of blood caused by illness, injury, or infection. It usually happens in extremities like fingers, toes, and limbs, but you can also get gangrene in your organs and muscles. There are different types of gangrene, and all of them need medical care right away.

In our interview recently with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) Projects and Public Relations Officer, Mr Shingai Gwatidzo, he indicated that out of a cumulative total of 3.06 million first doses and 2.30 million second doses of COVID- 19 vaccines, Zimbabwe had recorded only a total of 96 suspected Adverse Drug Reaction or Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) i.e. 70 from Sinopharm, 25 from Sinovac and 1 unspecified.

According to MCAZ, majority of the AEFIs were consistent with the safety profile of the vaccines as was determined from the clinical studies conducted by the vaccine developers i.e. headache, dizziness, fatigue, general body weakness, itchy skin, itchy rash, chills, sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose, sneezing, nausea, injection site pain, numbness of the injected arm, chest pain etc. A few serious AEFIs were also reported and these included seizures, stroke, angioedema, deep vein thrombosis. Causality assessment is done for all received reports, to determine if the reported reaction could have been caused by the vaccine administered.


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