Vaccine programme kicks off

Chow receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

FRONTLINERS safeguarding the people from Covid-19 in Penang have stepped forward to get vaccinated.

For medical officer Dr Ong Hoon Ngoh, 40, who is with Penang’s Southwest District Health Office, the vaccination was an extension of his national duty.

“By getting vaccinated, we are protecting not just ourselves but others.

“We frontliners are exposed to such high risks in our jobs and we really wish for the pandemic to end soon, ” he said yesterday.

Accompanying Dr Ong was his assistant Mohamad Rushdi Md Isa, 47, who was thankful to be selected for vaccination early.

“I hope that our vaccination will encourage more people to do the same, ” he said.

The department’s environment health officer G. Harikrishnan, 47, whose job scope includes investigative tasks on Covid-19 patients,

said the vaccination would put his family members’ minds at ease.

“I do get into close contact with Covid-19 patients and enter high- risk areas, ” he said.

“My family is worried for me and we want to be together without any lingering safety concerns.

“I hope the vaccination will put all of us in a safer situation, ” he said.

The trio were among the frontliners who were vaccinated together with Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow in a symbolic ceremony to kickstart the vaccination drive under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme at Penang Hospital yesterday.

Five more state leaders – Chow’s two deputies Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman and Dr P. Ramasamy, state secretary Datuk Abdul Razak Jaafar, state Health director Datuk Dr Asmayani Khalib and state police chief Datuk Sahabudin Abdul Manan – also got their vaccine shots.

At a press conference later, Chow said he was grateful that the state-level vaccination involving 31,000 frontliners for phase one started off smoothly.

“Penang has received its first supply of vaccines and there will be five subsequent shipments under the first phase for the total 62,000 doses.

“After going through the pandemic for a year, I urge everyone to register themselves for vaccination via the MySejahtera app, ” he said.

Chow reminded anyone who is vaccinated to continually comply with all public health safety measures.

Nineteen medical facilities have been identified to conduct the vaccination, with seven on Penang island and 12 on the mainland.

On the island, they are Penang Hospital, Balik Pulau Hospital and government health clinics in Bayan Baru, Ayer Putih, Sungai Dua Timur Laut, Jalan Angsana and Jalan Perak.

On the mainland, they are Kepala Batas Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, Bukit Mertajam Hospital, Sungai Bakap Hospital and government clinics in Sungai Dua, Penaga, Tasek Gelugor, Seberang Jaya, Bukit Minyak, Bukit Panchor, Sungai Acheh and Tasek.

Dr Asmayani said the centres would start operating soon and frontliners selected to be vaccinated had been informed.

Asked if media personnel would also be prioritised for vaccination, Dr Asmayani said the matter would be referred to the Federal Government.

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