Dr Zoe Williams has addressed the concerns that Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards has about the Covid-19 vaccine, which stem back to her experience with chemotherapy.
In 2015, Brenda, 46, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer after noticing a lump in her breast while performing in the musical Hairspray.
She was treated with chemotherapy for six months, in addition to undergoing a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
During today’s Loose Women, Brenda explained that she still experiences side effects from her chemotherapy treatment to the present day, which is one of the reasons why she feels concerned about having the coronavirus vaccine.
Physician Dr Zoe appeared on the show via video chat to explain the difference between chemotherapy and the Covid vaccine, stating that long-term effects are not being seen among patients who have had the coronavirus jab.
‘My concern kind of stems from me having my chemotherapy years ago. I still have side effects from that treatment in my body today,’ Brenda said.
‘And so my concern is, yes the production of it has been very speedy and I know that there have been tests and everything, but I am that person that’s concerned, slightly nervous about the side effects purely because I have side effects from chemo.’
Dr Zoe, 40, outlined that vaccines and chemotherapy are ‘at the opposite ends of the scale’ when it comes to treatments.
‘Chemotherapy is chemicals designed to kill the cancer in your body without killing the person. They’re very harsh, they have lots of side effects. As you mentioned often people do have long-lasting side effects, sometimes they never get better, because they are actually quite awful drugs but of course they save lives,’ she said.
‘When it comes to vaccines, it’s the other end of the scale. Vaccines are used to prevent something. Vaccines are given to people who are well to prevent them getting something in the future, so here it’s to prevent them getting Covid-19.’
Dr Zoe stressed that in order for a vaccine ‘to be deemed to be safe’, it ‘has to be extremely safe’.
She added that while people who have the vaccine may experience a day or two of side effects, such as ‘arm soreness, a bit of a headache, even a mild fever, a bit like when you have the flu vaccine’, this is simply ‘a sign your immune system is gearing up and doing its thing’.
‘What we’ve seen – and now millions of people have been vaccinated with this vaccine – is that we’re not seeing any long-term effects,’ the doctor told the Loose Women panel.
‘People after those first couple of days all feel fine.’
Dr Zoe noted that there has been a ‘small number’ of instances where patients have had ‘allergic reactions’ to the vaccine.
However, the numbers are minimal ‘bearing in mind that millions of people have had the vaccine’, and the patients involved are ‘mostly people who are known to be allergic to some of the ingredients in the vaccine’.
At the beginning of the month, the number of Covid vaccinations given to Brits reached the one million mark.
Sir Billy Connolly, Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Judi Dench are among the celebrities who have had the vaccine so far.
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.