Vaccination number, any giver? — Hafiz Hassan

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MAY 30 — “Age is just a number” and “age doesn’t matter”, so the sayings go.

But these days, while age is still a number, it is one that matters much. Because, would you not like your age to be the number 60? And stand in priority for vaccination?

Yet, in almost every state in the country, there are people whose age put them in priority to be vaccinated but did not show up for their vaccination appointments.  And the number is not small, involving thousands of appointments as confirmed by the health director of each state. 

I have read how complex the logistics are in administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

At the warehouse, the vaccines are kept at minus 80°C. So before being administered at the vaccine centres (PPV), they have to be thawed first. This takes several hours. Once thawed, they should be administered within five days. The thawed vaccines have to be kept at 2°C to 8°C.

The thawed vaccines are then mixed with 1.8ml of normal saline. And the mixed vaccine must be administered within six hours. Each person receives 0.3ml of intramuscular injection from the mixed vaccines. The leftover, which is less than 0.3ml, is discarded. But the person jabbed will have to be monitored for at least 30 minutes to ensure that there are no serious adverse effects.

And mind you, there are other administrative measures, before and after, to be taken to ensure the vaccination process is smooth.

The vaccine rollout in Malaysia has been criticised for its pace. — Bernama pic
The vaccine rollout in Malaysia has been criticised for its pace. — Bernama pic

So I’m perplexed that people did not show up for their vaccination appointments.

At work, there are colleagues who call me ‘Along’; there are who call me ‘Otai’ – both out of respect. To be sure, there are a couple who call me – straight to the face – old, and you can’t be offended because they are your colleagues in need.

But by the number, I’m not old or a ‘warga emas’. I’m a couple of years from the number 60. Even if I were a couple of months from the magical number, I must still wait for my turn in the national immunisation programme (NIP).

My wife is a couple of years younger than me, as you would expect. We live in Melaka. The last I checked, our historical state has the Covid-19 infectivity rate, measured as R0 or Rt, of 1.32, the highest in the country. But Melaka was not listed in the recent voluntary registration of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

So my wife and I, though not caught by the confusion, are still heartbroken. More so when we read that 3,934 people in Melaka did not turn up for their vaccination appointments.

It only takes 2 of these people to give us their vaccination appointment numbers.

For the next appointment, if any, any giver? We’ll be glad to give our numbers – contact numbers, I mean.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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