Happy to get dose of own medicine

A nurse holding a bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Each bottle contains enough doses for six people with a jab each.

THE first phase of Covid-19 vaccination for frontliners is going on smoothly at Penang Hospital with 36 jabs administered per hour.

The hospital’s assistant director Dr Wong Khar Ming said all 5,000 staff members at the hospital are expected to be vaccinated by the third week of this month to ensure all-round protection.

“Those at highest risk will go first but eventually, every staff member in the hospital is at risk and will be vaccinated.

“With 288 vaccinations done daily by a team of over 30 vaccinators, we estimate to complete the first jabs by the third week of March and they will return for a second dose after 21 days.

“Between the waiting period, the second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is expected to start in April, ” he said on the second day of the vaccination drive on Tuesday.

At the vaccination hall on level four of the hospital’s Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) building, patients were seen arriving according to schedules.

In turns, they underwent screening for a final check on their health condition before registering themselves through a dedicated system.

After a consent form was signed, they received their jab and the process was completed within minutes.

The bottles of vaccine, which are stored at a temperature of -70°C, will be reconstituted and stored between 2°C and 8°C, with each bottle serving six people, a jab each.

Dr Wong said the deployment of staff to be vaccinated is staggered and only a maximum of 25% of staff within a section would be deployed to ensure sufficient manpower on daily duties.

He said as the hospital will only vaccinate its staff members, other frontliner personnel such as those from the army, police and other agencies will receive the vaccine from various state health clinics.

Among those who were vaccinated at the hospital was 32-year-old anaesthetist Dr Ajayan Nair, who described the process as “painless”.

“I was excited when notified about receiving the vaccine.

“It is important to get as many vaccinated as possible and that’s the least I can do after everyone has endured the Covid-19 pandemic for a year.

“Although I live on my own, friends around who are not doctors are concerned about my safety and on taking the vaccine.

“I hope my vaccination would instil confidence in them, ” he said.

Another doctor in the hospital, 29-year-old Dr Ashwin Murugesan said it was a big relief to be vaccinated.

“I have been on frontline duty since March last year and the job involves me dealing with Covid-19 positive patients directly.

“At the peak of the pandemic, I see up to 120 patients daily at the Penang Prison, quarantine centres and high-risk areas.

“I’m glad to be vaccinated but as long as the pandemic is around, health safety precautions must still be complied with, ” he said.

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