When ‘SPIDER-MAN’ turns up for his jab

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No man can win every battle, but no man should fall without a struggle.

—  Peter Parker, comic book hero

“Spider-Man” was at the Sarawak General Hospital vaccination centre at the Kozi Square in Kuching recently. Well, he was not Tobey Maguire or any of the actors who had played the role of Spider-Man in the movies.

He was a vaccine recipient and he obviously adored Spider-Man, one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes who was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. That was why he turned up in the classic spidey suit with the red web pattern, including his full mask.

Children would have loved the Spider-Man at the Kozi Square and crowded around him if they had been there. But of course, no children were allowed at the Covid-19 vaccination centre or any vaccination centres.

At the moment, only adults above 18 years old residing in Malaysia barring any health concerns are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The immunisation programme, which is being implemented in stages, began on Feb 24, 2021 when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin became the first individual in Malaysia to receive the Pfizer–BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

The campaign implemented by the Malaysian government aims to curb the spread of the virus as well as ending the pandemic in the country by successfully achieving 80 percent herd immunity among its citizens and non-citizens that are residing in the country.

Two other vaccines have been added to the programme since then including Sinovac from China and AstraZeneca from the United Kingdom.

I wonder how many of the other vaccine recipients at the Kozi Square were shocked and how many were amused to see Spider-Man in their midst that day.

Many must have chuckled to themselves when they saw him and thought it was a moment worth recording and sharing with friends and other netizens. One of my colleagues shared a video and photo of Spider-Man with me.

Who was the Spider-Man at the Kozi Square? What was his name and how old was he? One of the local papers reported on him the next day. I wondered why that particular slim and lanky vaccine recipient opted to turn up for his jab dressed like his superhero.

Youth love Spider-Man in the movies because he has spider-like qualities such as genius-level intellect, superhuman strength, speed, durability and agility. He can also cling to most surfaces and is a superb scientist and inventor.

They also love Spider-Man because they can relate to him; he struggles with financial issues, is lonely at time, has girl problems, graduates from high school and enters college.

Many of those going for their first dose are often anxious and nervous despite repeated assurance by the Health Ministry that the vaccines are safe.

The most common side effects after the vaccination are fatigue, fever, headaches, body aches, chills, nausea, diarrhoea and pain at the site of injection.

Everyone is affected differently by vaccination. Some people may experience few or no side effects while others may experience multiple side effects and feel pretty ill.

What inspired the vaccine recipient at the Kozi Square to go to such length to acquire the eye-catching spidey uniform which definitely was not cheap?

Was he feeling anxious and nervous like most of us? Did he feel like climbing the wall as he waited for his turn to be vaccinated?

I must salute him for his bravery in turning up for the jab. Although public response to the national immunisation programme is much better now, many people reportedly did not turn up for their appointments fixed through the MySejahtera app because they doubted the vaccines for reasons best known to themselves.

I must salute the nurse in white who attended to Spider-Man and gave him his jab as well as the other medical personnel who sat with her at the table. They were very accommodating, friendly and obviously empathised with him. Spider-Man showed how nervous he was just before the jab when he patted his own chest and prayed.

Spider-Man must have realised despite his many superhuman strengths, he could not fight against the invisible Covid-19 virus and needed the jab.

Will the Spider-Man at the Kozi Square inspire other vaccine recipients to dress up as their superheroes in the movies, too? Let’s wait and see.

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