LETTER | My wife and I did not register early for vaccination against Covid-19 as many others were more in urgent need, particularly frontliners in healthcare, sales, service and those that work alongside co-workers such as in offices and factories.
In early June, I logged in here but was disappointed that I did not get an acknowledgement after submitting my application with all the necessary details. It was the same when I later used the MySejahtera app on my phone to book an appointment.
On June 11, my wife escorted her elder brother to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre for vaccination. While waiting inside the hall, a young Malay couple ahead of them noticed my wife and her brother were senior citizens and kindly offered to exchange places.
My wife graciously declined and struck a conversation in English and learnt that escorts who are senior citizens could request for vaccination without an appointment. After dealing with the staff on duty and getting approval from a doctor, she got her vaccination on the spot.
Her MySejahtera record showed that her earlier application for vaccination was received, and all entries were correct except for a letter in her name was misspelled. Fortunately, her identity card number was correct and that was the crucial part.
On July 2, I escorted my wife to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, and she received her second dose plus a digital certificate. But this time, I was told that escorts are no longer allowed to enter the hall and the practice of on-the-spot vaccination for senior citizens was discontinued.
Incidentally, my elder daughter received her second dose on July 18 in Sydney and younger daughter will be receiving her second dose on Aug 11 in Singapore. Happily, my wife and daughters did not suffer uncomfortable side effects from Covid-19 vaccinations.
On July 5, a special vaccination exercise was carried out for residents at a People’s Housing Project (PPR) where my brother-in-law lives. My wife sought assistance at the registration counter and a staff member on duty confirmed that my application record was found in MySejahtera.
On July 15, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba announced that senior citizens over the age of 60 in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor who have yet to be vaccinated can walk into any Covid-19 vaccination centre (PPV) for their jab without an appointment.
However, this was swiftly followed by a statement by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) that senior citizens should wait until vaccination centres finalise the logistics for walk-in vaccination service and advised them against walking into PPVs for their jabs.
On July 16, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that only senior citizens with no MySejahtera appointments for vaccination can walk into any PPV in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to get inoculated starting from July 17.
As I expected a huge crowd to turn up on the first few days, I decided to try my luck on July 20, hoping that many Muslims would rather celebrate Hari Raya Haji than getting vaccinated on that day, and I was right.
I arrived at the main door of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre at 2pm and exited from there at 3.10pm after completing my first dose. It was a breeze. I have been to this world-class convention centre countless times and the facilities were again top-notch on July 20.
Before entry, I told a staff member on guard outside the door that I had come for walk-in vaccination, and he checked my MySejahtera to make sure that I have not been given an appointment. After stepping inside, I was told by an usher to take the ascending escalator on the right.
On the upper floor, I again announced to the lone female staff standing there that I am for walk-in vaccination, and she told me to proceed to the help desk. Fortunately, I knew exactly where it was and went down by escalator to the ground floor located at the other side of the building.
While heading towards the help desk, I was pleasantly surprised to see there were not many people, unlike the huge crowds on June 10 and July 2. I reached the help desk within five minutes of my arrival at the main door of the convention centre.
The staff there registered for my on-the-spot vaccination, and I then entered the big hall. At the first checkpoint, an elderly assistant asked whether I could write in Malay, and I did not give a confident reply. So, he asked me to be seated and proceeded to fill up the consent form for me.
I then walked past hundreds of empty chairs. Upon reaching the next checkpoint at the end, I showed that my form has already been completed while others seated were filling in their forms. Next, I was interviewed by a nurse before she asked me to sign the consent form.
After that, the staff kept moving small groups of people forward from one waiting section to the next, periodically, which was very reassuring as everyone could feel they are making progress. Syabas for this arrangement, as waiting indefinitely is taxing and tiring.
Before reaching the vaccination booths, would-be vaccinees are consulted by a doctor who could determine, explain and advise the necessary. I was told that my daily exercise could be continued if I have enough sleep, do not feel tired and I should not put myself under stress.
Before the painless jab, I asked how to know whether I will be injected with the vaccine and was shown the syringe, but I could not tell the quantity as the vaccine appears to be colourless. I was also shown the empty bottle and was told that each vial contains two doses.
After vaccination, I proceeded to the last checkpoint, this time for observation. I was the only person at my counter and the staff cheerfully informed me that I do not have to wait and can go home after telling me to abstain from alcohol and durian and drink more water.
After leaving the hall, I headed for the restroom, which was clean and not crowded. I could have waited until August and choose the vaccine I want at any of the 56 PPV listed. But I would rather have the Sinovac vaccine at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre anytime.
I had been cycling, jogging or brisk walking every morning non-stop for the past few months and was prepared to give it a miss should I feel tired after vaccination. But I woke up fresh the next morning and even more energised after cycling for an hour.
Feeling very much alive at any age is priceless, more so for someone like me in the seventies.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.