Vaccine drive moves slowly but surely

Zulazhar receives his first jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
BY EKAMIEZZA KAMIL

KUCHING: Today marked the 100th day of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) since it was launched on Feb 24.

Starting with frontliners followed by senior citizens, other low-risk groups and those aged 18 and above, over 3.2 million doses of vaccine had been given to recipients nationwide in stages.

However, despite the government’s noble efforts to help the people to reduce the risk of severe Covid-19 infection, there are still many people who are hesitant or refuse to take this vaccine for fear that it will give adverse side effects.

Therefore New Sarawak Tribune went down to the ground to interview people who have received this vaccine.

According to Zulazhar Sheblee, one of the earliest recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Sarawak, at first he was scared and worried to receive the vaccine because of some negative news spread by social media about the bad side effects of Pfizer-BioNTech.

“Apart from thinking positively, I also performed tahajud prayers asking for guidance from Allah.

“Shortly after that, I came across a report saying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the best vaccine,” he said.

Commenting on the side effects he experienced, Zulazhar, who works as a photographer for a national newspaper, said he did not experience any expected side effects such as fever, dizziness as well as vomiting after receiving the first dose of the vaccine at the Kota Samarahan Health Clinic.

Further elaborating, he said he developed fever only two days after receiving the second dose injection but the next day, he recovered as usual.

“The side effects of the vaccine differ from one individual to another. I may not experience any symptoms on the first dose injection but for another person, he or she may have symptoms.

“However, do not worry as it is only temporary and only involves mild side effect.

“As a (full dose) vaccine recipient, I would like to invite anyone who is still hesitant to receive the vaccine to register immediately as it (vaccine) is very important to protect ourselves from the Covid-19 infection and to achieve herd immunity.

“The probability of being infected is slim as the vaccine helps boost a person’s immunity.

“Even if infected, a person who has been vaccinated is unlikely to experience severe symptoms of infection,” he explained, adding that despite receiving the vaccine, people still need to be compliant and adopt the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government to prevent any possibility of Covid-19 infection.

Sajali Johli. Photo: Ekamiezza Kamil

Another vaccine recipient Sajali Johli, who had completed his two doses of Sinovac vaccine injections on May 28, pointed out that he did not experience any side effects even after receiving the second dose.

According to the 81-year-old senior citizen, he received the vaccine after his child registered his name through the MySejahtera application.

“I believe the vaccine is the best way for people from all walks of life to protect themselves from this deadly virus.

“Change our mindset on bad perspectives pertaining to the vaccines. It is the best way to protect ourselves,” he stressed.

Those who have not yet registered to receive the vaccine can do so through the MySejahtera application.

Together we protect ourselves to flatten the Covid-19 curve so that we can live normal life like before.