Injecting hope for fast recovery

Vaccinated or not, Malaysians must continue to diligently wear face masks and adhere to SOP. — Filepic

EVERYWHERE I went over the past week, I heard people talking about the Covid-19 vaccination.

As I left my house to buy groceries on Monday, I overheard the next-door aunty talking animatedly about the Pfizer-BioNTech shot she received two weeks ago.

Another neighbour told my mum proudly the next day about her daughter who had got her first AstraZeneca jab a week before.

My mother, too, received her first shot of the Sinovac vaccine on Wednesday at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

It took some convincing but she finally registered for vaccination early this month, after several of her friends posted their post-vaccination photos on social media.

She was convinced after I received my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the priority programme for media practitioners on June 16.

In several WhatsApp groups I belong to, the Covid-19 vaccination topic is all the rage.

One friend pointed out how it was like sports day in school, where students are divided into colour-themed sports houses, except this time it was on the brand of vaccine.

On social media, photos of people holding placards saying “I have been vaccinated” continue to dominate my feed.

It appears that the initial hesitancy among people about getting vaccinated is fast fading, although there are still some who remain sceptical.

A more personal touch from loved ones, relatives and friends who have been vaccinated, is probably the best way to get the sceptics on board and even convert anti-vaxxers.

Those who are lucky to have received their shots should share their experience with others, and tell everyone it is okay to be vaccinated.

Hearing about the experience from trusted faces can be the key to convincing sceptics to sign up for vaccination.

Economists have warned that the speed of economic recovery hinges on the success of the immunisation programme, which determines how soon we can reopen the economy.

It is therefore crucial that we get as many of our fellow countrymen to be protected against this virus as soon as possible.

A sense of hope is rippling across the community that normality will return soon and things will go back to how it was before Covid-19 dominated the headlines.

My mum is already planning a family holiday once interstate travel restrictions are eased.

A good friend is checking out flight tickets and hotels to several destinations, and is estimating how much she will need to spend once restrictions are lifted.

While the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is clearly gathering steam, it is still too soon to celebrate.

A sizeable number of people are still not vaccinated and many await their second shot.

Many health experts have warned that it takes about two weeks after the second dose for the vaccination to be effective against Covid-19.

This is because it takes time for immunity to build up and the first dose only provides partial protection.

Adding to the list of concerns is the spread of the more virulent Delta variant and how effective existing vaccines are against it.

As cliched as this advice may sound, it cannot be emphasised enough that adherence to proper health protocols and the standard operating procedure still matters.

This means that a face mask is still a must-have item and we need to maintain a safe distance from each other when in public spaces.

While recovery is in sight, we must not be lulled into a false sense of security and we must not stop being cautious in the midst of this invisible and deadly virus.

The day will come when we can joke about whether we are TeamSinovac, TeamPfizer, TeamAZ or even TeamCanSino and TeamJohnson&Johnson.

Until then, we must endure the bumpy ride with optimism.

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