Coronavirus Vaccine – To take or not to take?

I realise this is a departure from my usual blog. I recently got the second shot of the Coronavirus vaccine, and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But I soon realised that nothing had changed. A couple of days after getting my shot, I learned that one of my neighbours, who coincidentally is a doctor and fully vaccinated, was tested positive.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

At the end of the day, we still have to wear masks and practice social distancing. And I urge you to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, try self-isolation (at least as much as you can before going bonkers), and hand sanitise, at least until COVID-19 is well and truly behind us. Just because you have been vaccinated doesn’t mean you are fully protected against the coronavirus infection; it merely reduces the chances of developing complications by helping your body develop antibodies. Keep in mind, most vaccines have only about 90% efficacy.

But why isn’t COVID-19 just going away? Why does it keep evolving and mutating?  

The simple answer is because we are giving it time to evolve and mutate. Even today, a vast majority of the world’s population remains unvaccinated; only about 30% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated (status on Sep 14, 2021, see the chart below). There are several reasons for this – from the lack of availability of the vaccine in certain areas to false information being spread and an inherent mistrust for vaccines. 

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

So, why is it so hard for us to believe highly educated and qualified scientists and doctors, who have worked endless hours to get us COVID-19 vaccines in record time, but are swayed by celebrities and politicians who tweet for publicity and whose only research is a cousin in Trinidad who won’t get the vaccine because his friend got it and became impotent (a reference to a recent Tweet by a popular rap star).

The answer is FEAR. All we need is a kernel of doubt to be planted in our minds, and our imagination will do the rest.

People are afraid of the unknown

There are many reasons people come up with for not taking the vaccine or for looking at alternatives. I can understand the fear, but more than a billion people worldwide have already taken the vaccine, and it has worked out well for the overwhelming majority of them. It is no longer the unknown.

People are afraid of the government – because they “rushed” the vaccine to look good in the eyes of the voters or to blame the inaction of the opposition

Protest in Liestal, Switzerland against the corona pandemic measures. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash.

As for the government rushing the vaccine (which they did), this is a legitimate concern. Do you want to put something in your body that was rushed or not tested enough? The fact of the matter is that researchers were already researching vaccines for other coronaviruses for years, so when COVID-19 hit, they were already ahead of the game. In the US, “Operation Warp Speed” wasn’t about rushing the science but about cutting down the bureaucracy. Researchers were able to compress the timeline for the development of the vaccine; things that were done in sequence were done in parallel to save time. 

People are afraid of the side effects of the vaccine

Most medications will have side effects; you can usually find the warning on the label. For a vast majority of people, the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine will just be minor – headaches, cold or flu symptoms, fever, and body pain are some of the most common. Serious side effects like anaphylaxis are very rare (example: 4.7 cases/million for Pfizer-BioNTech and 2.5 cases/million for Moderna, for vaccine doses administered) and usually only occur for cases with a history of allergy.

People are afraid of big corporations – they have the right to be because most big corporations are out to get your money 

The greed of man can be astounding, and it won’t surprise me to find out that some might have cut corners or taken other underhanded steps to increase their profits. But this is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the eye of the world is riveted on this. And it will be a brave (and in this case, by brave I mean psychopathic) company or executive that will play around with results that can impact millions of lives. But I still wouldn’t put anything past man’s greed, but that would not be more than the usual (cynical, I know).

The point is, we have to flatten the curve. We must develop herd immunity. And for this to happen, more people must be vaccinated. Because if you do not take the vaccine, you might not be affected by COVID-19, but you can still spread it to other people, becoming a carrier and helping the virus mutate. Encourage your friends, neighbours, and family to get vaccinated.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-cases

Managing healthcare is never easy, but don’t worry, we got you covered. For more information on our 100% online Master’s degree programmeschat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for personalised guidance through the application process.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Get vaccinated.

All you wanted to know about Global Warming – Its cause and its effects

The Earth is warming up, and the phenomenon of the overall temperatures of the planet rising is referred to as Global Warming. This trend of increasing atmospheric temperature has had been observed since as far as 1880. The industrial revolution blew the bugle and marked the beginning of the era of rising annual global temperatures, with an average increase of 0.07 degrees Celsius (0.13 degrees Fahrenheit) every ten years since 1980. The average rate of increase has doubled in the last two decades – and it seems there is no sign of it slowing down.  

There are several elements that affect the Earth’s climate over time, such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, rain, and humidity. This creates a network of intricate ecosystems where plants and animals’ life, growth, and survival are affected by a slight change in the climate and throw it out of balance.

According to an analysis at NASA, Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record

Causes of Global warming

The Greenhouse Effect

Increased human activity such as excessive use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrialisation has been central to the drastically changing climatic conditions and increased concentration of greenhouse gases.  

The heat-trapping pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and other fluorinated gases form a layer over the Earth’s atmosphere. Instead of the radiation escaping back into space, this layer absorbs the sunlight and solar radiation reflected from the Earth’s surface. This process traps the heat for years and centuries, leading to rising temperatures and a hotter planet.  

We live in a Greenhouse. Video credit:https://climate.nasa.gov/causes

Natural cycles and fluctuations also influence Earth’s climate. Some have even blamed the Sun for the global warming trend. Proxy indicators such as sunspot records and the amount of carbon in tree rings are generally used to estimate solar irradiance. However, research shows that neither the natural cycles nor solar irradiance can account for more than 10 per cent of the recent global warming.  

NASA with the cutting-edge observations from it’s Earth System Observatory helps to understand our ever-changing planet

Effects of Global Warming

One of the main effects that global warming has is climate change. Commonly these two terms are used interchangeably. However, they are different.  The change in the weather patterns and growing seasons across the globe is referred to as climate change. Melting ice sheets, expanding warmer seas and oceans leading to rising sea levels are the effects of climate change.  

A recent report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveals some shocking climate change findings. The research conducted by 90 scientists from over 40 countries concludes that limitig global warming to 2 degrees Celsius is no longer a viable option. To curb any further devasting effects of climate change, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040. In the event the world fails to achieve this mark, then events like floods, fires, or varying temperatures will no longer be a statistical anomaly but will instead become a seasonal happening just like changing seasons.  

Though in our daily lives we might not understand the impact of global warming and climate change, the changes to the environment are happening now and, with time, will make a more significant impact than ever before. If we look around closely, what used to be subtle hints, are now taking more devastating effects such as:  

  • Extended periods of wildfires
  • Melting glaciers and ice caps in Antarctica and the Artic.
  • Bleaching of the coral reefs
Coral reef decimation is one of the sad effects of the global climate crisis
  • Warmer and acidic oceans
  • Extreme weather conditions due to rising temperatures
  • Spread of diseases
  • Farming has been affected by changing rainfall patterns, severe drought, and heat waves. The growth of the produce is mutated, and the quality of the crops has also been affected. 

The future is not determined; it is on our hands

David Attenborough

While not a lot, there is still time to act and slow down the pace of global warming. The Earth has already warmed 1.1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. The need of the hour is to bring all nations together and work towards building a fossil-fuel-free economy. And the next decade is crucial in achieving this target. Countries have the technology, scientific foresight and solutions to reverse the damage for a healthier planet. Using alternative and renewable sources of energy like wind, water and electricity; adoption of a flexitarian diet with less dependence on meat; afforestation drive etc., can save our planet Earth. Do you pledge to save our planet? 

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Lebo Buthelezi

We continue our blog series that answers some of the questions we get here at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) by prospective students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.   

Hear from our online Master’s degree students about a day in their lives. Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash.

Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!  

An Introduction 

Who are you, really?  

My name is Lebo Buthelezi. I am a family-oriented person, ambitious and can be a bit pessimistic sometimes. Passionate about diversity, inclusion, women empowerment and gender equality. Professionally I work as a project cost controller in the mining industry, where I have been learning the corporate reputation and shaping the perceptions of the company in projects for more than a decade. I am also a founder and director of LebVic Design fashion clothing line start-up.  

Which Uni are you studying with?  

University of Salford 

Which programme did you choose and why?  

MSc in Project Management, I want to have a qualification for the career that I have chosen. I aspire to have my own Project Management consultancy company. I have learned that studying is an incredible opportunity to learn about business prospects and how to effectively transition to economic opportunities.  

The Study Plan  

Time flies, so plan your studies. Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash.

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

I planned to study at least 25 hours a week: Monday to Friday 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evenings, and Saturday 5 hours. Reality: The study hours fluctuated as I found myself spending more hours of studies during weekends and less during the week as anticipated.  

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Early mornings during the week and most of the hours on weekends.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

The plan was to spend two weeks on assignments. In most instances, I overthink and over analyse assignments and end up taking more days after the two weeks.  

Travelling and Communication  

Figure out how to study and stay connected when travelling. Photo by Brett Zeck on Unsplash.

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

It improved my personal development, discovered different cultures, contributed to a better academic performance and social interaction with other students. Learning in a new or different environment offers a different perspective on how other countries conduct businesses—expanding career horizons when you earn the international qualification. [Editor’s note: remember pre-Covid times? One week long residencies were a thing – and Lebo attended one in Salford]

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

Technology played the most important role, even though there are time differences. Using the online campus gives flexibility as you can communicate anytime, and feedback is given promptly. The way the online campus is set makes life easy because most of the questions are answered on the platform. The zoom classes as well contributed, and a WhatsApp group was created between students.  

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

I would wake up, study for 2 hours, get ready for work, and off I go. In the afternoon, I get home, follow up on business, and study for 2 hours before I sleep. Saturday morning work in my business until lunchtime, after lunch, I study. Sunday, I rest and spend it with family. Studying online comes with the room of being flexible with your studies and making it easy to have a work-life balance.  

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

The moment you enrol yourself to study, make sure that you break the habit of multitasking. I had to learn the hard way; managing work, business and studies comes with challenges. However, it is not impossible to manage all of them. It is important to set up a study strategy, have a life study schedule to track your progress. Time management is crucial, have a study plan with deadlines and stick with them. Studying can be challenging and take us out of our comfort zone; when that happens, we should be resilient and disciplined with our studies till we reach our goal of graduating.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this space for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

If you still have questions though, post them here in the comments or, even better, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for personalised guidance through the application process.