Vaccinating the Tongabezi Team

Natasha Parker | May 24, 2021

The AstraZeneca vaccine has made it to Zambia! In fact, within a week of the first doses arriving in Livingstone, our wonderful General Manager JC arranged for a doctor to head out to Tongabezi Lodge to vaccinate our team in order to protect them and their families.

When the Zambia vaccination drive began, we started by having a few open conversations, and addressing the concerns most prevalent in Zambia, in order to ensure that our team felt fully confident taking the vaccine. We were interested to find that our female staff were far more keen at first than the men were.

covid-19 vaccine, Tongabezi Lodge
Some excited Tonga ladies!

It certainly encouraged people to know that the entire Tangala House team had been vaccinated on the very first day the vaccines came to Livingstone:

covid-19 vaccine, Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia vaccination drive
The Tangala House ladies leading the way – vaccines under a mango tree

A few Tongabezi team members still opted to wait a week, to see how it went, but all of our front of house staff committed right away.

‘It’s not about me,’ one of our most smiley valets, Lizzie, said. ‘At work I interact with people from all over the world, and then at night I go home to my family. I want to make sure that I’m keeping them safe. And if I get the vaccine… I know that they will want to get it too in order to protect me. It’s about the people you love.’

We can confidently confirm that the jab itself did not hurt – the medical team here are very competent – as you’ll see below:

covid-19 vaccine, Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia vaccination drive
Some of our staff still needed a comforting hand to hold.

Others decided that they didn’t need a hand to hold… but we think they regretted it…

covid-19 vaccine, Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia vaccination drive
‘Looking away’ seems to be a go-to move here, but everyone is still very calm…
covid-19 vaccine, Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia vaccination drive
… we especially love the dramatic facial expressions from Jato, Nevy and Henry!

After the vaccine, a number of staff reported mild to moderate flu or malaria-like symptoms for up to two days. We had a few fevers, shivers, sore joints, headaches, and other slightly uncomfortable moments.

We checked in with each other, however, and the final consensus is that our team are all incredibly proud to be on the front line of vaccinated in Zambia. They know that they are leading the way for tourists to come back and feel safe in our little piece of paradise. Now they are just waiting for the next stage of their vaccine, which is said to be arriving in early July!

And most importantly, of course, our team know that by joining the Zambia vaccination drive, they are protecting each other and the people they love.

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