KUCHING: The pandemic has had an adverse impact on almost every aspect of life, causing global economies to stall, altering how we work and interact with our loved ones, and straining healthcare systems to their breaking point.
To help fight the virus, the Malaysian government has been working to obtain as many vaccines as possible in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
Recently, Sibu Divisional Disaster Management Committee coordinator Dr Annuar Rapaee said more than 150 teachers in Sibu District had refused vaccination.
Parents were shocked to hear this and urged the government to take action because they were concerned about their children’s safety and health when school reopens, but teachers have yet to be vaccinated, and worse still, refusing to do so.
New Sarawak Tribune spoke to several people to get their views on the matter.
ZAKRI ISMAILI, 41, TRADER
“I was astonished to read the news – how could an educator refuse the vaccine? My two girls are still in middle school, so they haven’t been vaccinated because the vaccines are only available to people over the age of 18. This is why I hope the government would take action before school reopens as it is critical for the safety and health of students.”
MOHD KAMIL HASSAN, 50, Warehouse Executive
“I have not yet received my vaccine and am extremely eager to obtain one, so when I heard that they (certain teachers) refused, I thought it was a very selfish decision, especially because they are teachers who would be exposed to the students if school reopens. I urged everyone to obtain immunisation since it is important for everyone’s future and safety.”
NUR AZIZAH ZAFRI AHMAD, 47, Accountant
“All medicine, including vaccines, have potential side effects, why should we be afraid of the vaccine? The news was upsetting – how can they be selfish when it is their responsibility to teach their students? I have three children, two of whom are under the age of 18, therefore I hope the government take action.”
MOHD KAHLIK SABRI, 53, Cargo Shipping Officer
“I understand that they have the right to refuse the vaccine, but the government also has the right to make it compulsory, especially for educators who would be in contact with the children once school reopens. Not to mention, children also have the right to study in a safe environment, so I hope everyone registers for the vaccine because this is not the time to be selfish.”
SITI ZULAIKHA IBRAHIM, 31, ADMIN ASSISTANT
“I hope vaccination becomes compulsory for educators, and please, once again, stop spreading misinformation about the vaccine. How can we build herd immunity if people continue to refuse the vaccine? My major concern right now is the health and safety of my child, so I hope everyone would support the government’s efforts.”
AMY KAHTIJAH WAHAB, 45, Businesswoman
“As the government prepares for the wider rollout of the immunisation programme, it is reassuring to see that Covid-19 vaccinations are widely accepted in Malaysia, thus it is quite embarrassing to hear that (certain) teachers refused to receive the vaccine. As a mother, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated since it is for our protection and the safety of our families.”