More about the COVID-19 vaccine

5 min read
A myth is defined as "a widely held but false belief or idea." In light of the prevalence of myths about COVID-19 and vaccines, this article shares some facts about the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines.
5 min read
Like all viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 changes its genetic form - very slightly, but constantly. This mutation results in different variants emerging. Learn here how this happens, and what effects it has on how the COVID-19 vaccine works.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 21 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we explore whether or not pregnant and breastfeeding women should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 20 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we bust the myth that COVID-19 vaccines negatively impact fertility, as no clinical evidence supports this.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 19 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn more about the authorisation of vaccines for children around the world and in South Africa.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 18 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn why manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines aren't held responsible for potential side effects.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 17 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we understand what kind of side effects to expect and watch out for after COVID-19 vaccination.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 16 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn what herd immunity is, and explore South Africa's likelihood of reaching it in the future.
5 min read
Is concern about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines keeping you from being vaccinated? Here we look at the clinical data on vaccine safety in the short-, medium- and long-term.
5 min read
There are two ways your body can develop immunity from COVID-19: either by being vaccinated or by being infected and then recovering from the disease.
5 min read
Unsure about the benefits and limitations of COVID-19 vaccination or when full immunity kicks in depending on which vaccine you take? These are six key questions to ask if you want to benefit fully from vaccination. Learn the answers here!
5 min read
Welcome to Video 15 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn how what COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are and whether we'll need them in the future.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 14 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we learn how getting vaccinated helps stop new and potentially dangerous variants from emerging.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 13 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here she busts the myth that getting vaccinated can infect you with COVID-19 or cause you severe illness.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 12 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here she explains why COVID-19 vaccines can't change DNA, and shares how mRNA and spike proteins work.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 11 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Here we understand what misinformation is, its danger impact and how to watch out for it.
5 min read
With so many sources online sharing a mix of information, misinformation, facts, theories and opinions about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, it's tricky to know which to trust.
5 min read
The first positive case of COVID-19 in South Africa was confirmed in March 2020. The disease is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and different variants have been identified worldwide.
5 min read
In this article, we try to understand why there are global moves to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, whether they are reasonable, and what the implications of such decisions might be.
5 min read
There is a lot of information online and shared on social media about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and vaccines. This makes it difficult to know what is true and what is fake. Here are some tips on how to spot misinformation and fact-check
5 min read
There are currently four vaccines authorised for use by South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA): the AstraZeneca, J&J, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines. Here's a look at the two vaccines widely available in South African, their differences and similarities.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 9 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Centre for Clinical Excellence at Discovery Health. In this article, we learn why it's recommended that people get a COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of whether they've had COVID-19 or not.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 8 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. In this article, we delve into why it's so important for everyone in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 7 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. Are you uncertain whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19? Here are some reasons not to postpone the decision and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
5 min read
Welcome to Video 6 of our series on Understanding Vaccines with Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Discovery Health Centre for Clinical Excellence. In this video, we're reminded how all new medicines are reviewed and approved, and how you can play your part and learn more about the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
5 min read
Pregnant? Breastfeeding? As South Africa's vaccination programme opens to more people, you may have questions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 when it's your age group's turn. We have answers.
5 min read
Dr Khatija Kadwa says the best way to fight the pandemic is through preventive habits and COVID-19 vaccines.
5 min read
There is no link between being vaccinated against COVID-19 and developing COVID-19 disease. If people test positive for COVID-19 in the days after they get vaccinated, it's most likely that they contracted the disease before being vaccinated. However, they were probably not aware they had it at the time of their vaccination. Let's explore this issue.
5 min read
Dr Demopoulos believes the COVID-19 vaccines are "...probably the only way we're going to get through this and eventually get back to normality."
5 min read
Dr Illana Links, a psychiatric registrar at Dora Nginza Hospital, was one of the first front-line doctors to get the COVID-19 vaccine in February..
5 min read
Dr Sumy Thomas says that for the elderly and people who live with chronic illnesses and comorbidities, COVID-19 vaccines are "a matter of life and death".
5 min read
Professor Salome Maswime shares the profound sense of relief and hope being vaccinated against COVID-19 brought to her and her parents. And, she reminds us that our elderly loved ones, and those in our communities need our help to access their vaccines.
5 min read
Professor Brian Allwood is an award-winning pulmonologist who spent 2020 working in the COVID-19 ICU at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. He shares his experience of the pandemic and of being among the first to get the vaccine against COVID-19.
5 min read
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Mosa Moshabela has been working behind the scenes to research the virus that causes COVID-19, educate the public and support the National Department of Health and Provincial Government in South Africa.
5 min read
Professor Liesl Zühlke had her COVID-19 vaccine on 26 February 2021 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. She shares her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, and encourages all of us to have the vaccine when it is our turn.
5 min read
Paediatrician and infectious disease specialist Dr Fikile Mabena shares her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourages all South Africans to help their elderly family members, friends and colleagues to register and get vaccinated.
5 min read
By now, you may have received your partial or full COVID-19 vaccine dose. It is still important to maintain the measures that have kept you safe from exposure to COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status. This is important as we currently do not have enough vaccinated people to offer broader population protection
5 min read
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viruses constantly mutate and change, and new viral variants are expected to occur.
5 min read
We know that vaccinated people need to continue to follow the measures that prevent exposure to COVID-19. How long can we expect to continue practising these preventive behaviours? And is population immunity really attainable in the case of COVID-19, or are we dealing with an endemic virus?
5 min read
What happens if you contract COVID-19 before your first vaccine dose? Can you still go for your second dose if you contract COVID-19 at some point between dose one and two? You need to wait a minimum of 30 days after contracting COVID-19 before being vaccinated.
5 min read
With myths, misconceptions and vaccine hesitancy still prevalent in South Africa, we speak to the experts and look beyond our borders at global vaccine successes. Let science do the talking to dispel the myths and help put your mind at ease.
5 min read
There's so much misinformation out there that many people are still not convinced about having the jab. Some are filled with fear and doubt; others are sitting on the fence to 'just wait and see'. Here's how to have The Talk.
5 min read
One of the biggest concerns about having the COVID-19 vaccine is whether you're going to experience any side effects - and long they will last. Here's what you need to know.
5 min read
People who have been fully vaccinated could need COVID-19 booster shots within a year to 18 months. The research is ongoing, however, it's important that we know what to expect. Why are both the second dose of a two-dose vaccine and future vaccine doses called "booster shots"? Why are they possibly necessary?
5 min read
If you've had your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, r your second dose will be due 42 days later. This is the latest guideline for people being vaccinated in South Africa. Find out more, and learn about a fascinating study on delaying the administration of a second vaccine shot and how this improves the immune response.
5 min read
As a clinician, I can assure members of the public that vaccination is one of the most cost-effective and powerful public health interventions for COVID-19 and many other diseases.
5 min read
As of 17 May, people over the age of 60 can register for their COVID-19 vaccine. Registration is digital, first on the national EVDS system (compulsory) and, for Discovery clients, on the Discovery COVID-19 vaccine portal.
5 min read
Adrian Gore: "Phase 2 marks a significant turning point in battle against COVID-19." Let's look at the facts.
5 min read
Malcolm and his wife, (name) Coombs, have known Helen Groves for over 50 years and share mutual friends. "Helen will be turning 102 next month and although she is not as physically strong as she used to be, her intellect remains sharp," says Malcolm.
5 min read
On 17 May 2021, South Africa entered phase 2 of the national vaccine rollout. This means that everyone over the age of 60 can register for their COVID-19 vaccine. Why is vaccinating people over the age of 60 (with the oldest adults first in line) so important? How do we know that COVID-19 vaccines save lives in this age group?
...
5 min read
The South African government has secured sufficient doses to vaccinate over 40 million people in South Africa, well within the target set out for the national campaign. As we get closer to Phase 2 in the national vaccination rollout, learn more about why you should have the COVID-19 vaccination.
5 min read
Ernest Floyd and his mother Sophy live together in a quiet Cape Town suburb. As Sophy's oldest son, Ernest handles his mom's affairs. He makes sure to keep up with the latest digital trends and this has been key to registering them both to have their COVID 19 vaccine in the near future.
5 min read
Doreen Bourhill's family are looking forward to the day she is vaccinated against COVID-19. At the age of 100, Doreen still lives her life to the full, spending her time knitting and enjoying time with her family - including 12 great-grandchildren who love her dearly.
5 min read
Dr Theo Kretzmar has long looked forward to the day he and his wife would be able to register for their COVID-19 vaccines. They registered first on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS)
5 min read
It's important that we all understand how the various COVID-19 vaccines being developed globally work. This article looks at various global front-runner vaccines in detail. We summarise what you need to know, from how the vaccine works to efficacy, storage, side-effects, dose and more.
4 min read
South Africa has overcome the second wave of COVID-19 infection and moved to alert level 1. We're also approaching the April break - a time when people might, while relaxing with loved ones, be prone to relaxing their caution around preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, as experts warn, a third wave of infection could be upon us soon.
5 min read
Dr Ron Whelan, head of Discovery's COVID-19 Task Team (and chief commercial officer at Discovery Health), shares answers to a set of important questions around COVID-19 vaccines.
5 min read
Imagine layers of protection against COVID-19 as slices of Swiss cheese stacked one after the other. In recent months, experts have made reference to the "Swiss cheese metaphor" to explain how every preventive action has flaws, but together they create a powerful barrier against the spread of COVID-19 infection.
5 min read
This article - the first in a series of two - explains the words we all need to understand to be able to understand the ins and outs of COVID-19 vaccines (and all vaccines). Empower yourself with key vaccine vocabulary ahead of our second article which explores individual vaccines in fuller detail.
5 min read
There's never been a more important time to protect yourself against COVID-19 misinformation. Debunking misinformation is essential when it comes to the safety and efficacy of delivering vaccines to fight the virus.
5 min read
COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Other conditions caused by viruses include the common cold, flu, measles, chickenpox and many more.
5 min read
We've all heard people refer to the time periods relating to isolation for those who contract COVID 19, or quarantine for those are exposed to the disease.
8 min read
In his 11 January National Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear that South Africa, like countries the world over, was embarking on a massive COVID-19 vaccination programme. With our country's vaccine rollout underway, we update you on developments to date.
8 min read
South Africa is preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines throughout 2021. The vaccines are on all our mind but how well do we understand the vaccines and the way they train our immune system to protect us against serious illnesses?
8 min read
Remarkable technology has fuelled the development of the various COVID-19 vaccines being produced around the world. Let's explore the reasons for their rapid development and explain the rigorous process that each vaccine goes through before being approved for use.

All medical information found on this website including content, graphics and images, is for education and information objectives only. Discovery publishes content to help to promote a better understand of COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. The content covered is an overview of key concepts and is not exhaustive in nature. We encourage further reading from other credible sources where necessary.

South African organisations:

  • National Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 portal: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/
  • National Institute for Communicable Diseases' (part of the National Health Laboratory Service) dedicated COVID-19 hub
  • South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAPRHA - part of the National Department of Health).
  • South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
  • South African Medical Journal (SAMJ)

International Organisations:

Log in

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id