Getting ready for the vaccine

KUCHING: One million doses of Pfizer vaccine will reach Malaysian shores by next month. This was revealed recently by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The vaccine will be Malaysia’s first batch of Covid-19 vaccine.

The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be given 21 days after the first one.

Does this sound like good news? Maybe.

What is abundantly clear though is that many people are praying that the vaccine will work and end all the miseries.

But there are concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in the social media.

With the spread of all kinds of conspiracy theories, it does not take long for many people to think twice about getting the vaccinations.

The longer people have to wait their turns to get the jabs, the wider the spread of lies and misinformation about vaccine in the community.

Recent findings of a Ministry of Health’s survey on public sentiments towards serums from December 21 to 28 discovered about a third of the Malaysians polled said they were either scared or suspicious of Covid-19 vaccines with most indicating fear of possible side effects.

Out of its 212,006 respondents, 17 percent were unsure, with over 83 percent of them expressing fear of possible side effects.

Up to 78 percent from those in the uncertain group were also less confident that the vaccines would work while 71 percent felt they would be unsafe to use.

Of those who totally rejected the vaccines, 16 percent felt that the serums were unsafe. 96 percent feared the side effects and 85 percent were sceptical on their ingredients.

In view of this, New Sarawak Tribune decided to find out how the locals viewed the vaccines.   

Bujang Dollah

Bujang Dollah, 78, from Kampung Merdeka, who was interviewed at Kubah Ria, said, “Vaccine? Of course, yes, 100 percent. I’m all ready so that we can all get on with life as best we can, but maybe with a bit more thought of how to live a better life.”

He said getting the jabs was a must to ensure the well-being of the society.

“Alhamdulillah, although I am nearly 80, so far I am free from chronic diseases. I am still able to walk and ride my motorcycle from Pendam and Asajaya to Kuching,” he added.

Bujang said he was already adapting to the new normal by wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing.

“While waiting for the jabs, the best we can do is to take care of ourselves by strictly complying with the standard operating procedure (SOPs) set by the government,” he added. 

Dollah Omar

Bujang’s friend, Dollah Umar, shared his view. He said the only way forward was to stand in solidarity to curb the virus.

“We have to be united because without this, we will lose this battle,” he added.

Sawoi Anee

Sawoi Anee, 65, owner of a bus school company, agreed that getting the jabs was necessary.

“Getting the vaccine is like wearing a life jacket to protect yourself,” she pointed out.

“Elderly people are at highest risk from Covid-19. The government is giving out free vaccine, so for me, there is no excuse not to go for the jabs,” she said.

Hadiah Suhaili

Another respondent, Hadiah Suhaili from Kpg Semariang said people who chose not to have the vaccine should think of the consequences.

“It is free and funded by the government. We should feel grateful because there are countries that do not do this.

“From financial assistance to free vaccine, the government has been helping us, standing with us through thick and thin during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why choose to be the black sheep that will harm our own people?” she asked.