PETALING JAYA: The vaccine rollout in Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19 will begin with the expected arrival of the first shipment today.
Medical frontliners as well as those working in essential services, defence and security will be among the first group to be inoculated in a three-phase plan starting this Friday.
Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal said he and his team are excited about the vaccine, as it would put their mind at ease while they are on duty.
“I’ll be the first to take the jab as a show of support for my team, ” he said.
By being the first to be vaccinated at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters, ACP Nik Ezanee hoped to send a clear message that the vaccine is safe.
For Selangor Fire and Rescue department director Senior Assistant Fire Commissioner Norazam Khamis, the vaccine presented hope that life could return to normal.
“We understand that it is very effective and we hope that by the time the inoculation process is completed, our loved ones will also be protected from the virus, ” he said.
Norazam said the vaccine would provide an extra layer of protection for firefighters who had to attend to road accidents and Covid-19 sanitisation work, among others.
There are about 15,000 firefighters in Malaysia and 7,402 of them are expected to be inoculated in the first phase.
A doctor at a government hospital in Sarawak viewed the vaccine arrival as a sort of closure to a tough year fighting the pandemic.
“At this point, I believe it is the only way out. How much longer do frontliners need to work around the clock? While I think Covid-19 may still linger on, the situation will be easier to control, ” he said.
The immunisation exercise is divided into three phases, starting with frontliners from now till April.
The second phase begins from April to August for those in high-risk groups and the third phase from May 2021 to February 2022 for adults aged 18 and above.
In Johor Baru, medical frontliners are looking forward to getting their first dose of the vaccine.
Hospital Sultanah Aminah clinical cardiology specialist Dr Ng Kim Fong, 39, described the vaccine as a game changer that would not only protect medical professionals who are dealing with Covid-19 patients directly but also reduce the risk of having less manpower due to the disease.
Dr Ng, who is also the Johor Doctors Association founder and president, said that he and his colleagues from the cardiology department had been taking turns to assist doctors in the internal medicine department to manage patients, including those with Covid-19.
“We divide ourselves into three teams where each team will help beef up manpower in the internal medicine department for about two weeks each round.
“At least if one team is down due to Covid-19 and has to be quarantined, there are other doctors on standby to attend to other patients. Although we are now focusing on managing the pandemic, we also cannot compromise treatment for other non-Covid-19 patients.”
Faizah Wahid, 35, who is a nurse at a private hospital in Batu Pahat, hoped to be among the earlier batches to get the jab.
“Getting the vaccine early will give me peace of mind.
“Although we put on full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) every day, we are still at risk of getting the disease given our close contact with positive cases. The vaccine will give us extra protection, ” she said.
In George Town, Rosjr Abdul Hamid, 50, who has been a nurse for 24 years now, is looking forward to getting the vaccine.
She said the vaccine would make a huge difference and build the confidence of medical frontliners.
“I will feel safer at work, ” she said.
Houseman Dr Joey Ong, 27, said she is looking forward to getting vaccinated.
“I feel that vaccination is the only answer since lockdowns and social distancing measures are not bringing down the number of infections throughout the world.
“Personally, I have no concerns about the vaccine, ” she said.
In Kota Kinabalu, doctors and nurses who need to deal with infected patients said the vaccine would help them feel more assured in the course of their duty.
“I have signed up for it. I am exposed to Covid-19 patients all the time, ” said a medical staff attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“Most of my colleagues are also taking it, ” he said.
According to medical staff at the dedicated Covid-10 hospitals here, the first group of frontliners to take the inoculation would be the vaccinators who will be involved in the immunisation programme in the state.
A doctor, who also declined to named, said there should be no problem with the vaccinations because most of the feedback from the United States and United Kingdom showed positive effects.
“There has been a slowdown in the infection rates with the vaccination programme.”
“As frontliners, it is our best defence, ” said the medical officer who works at the Accident and Emergency Unit of a hospital here.
He also noted that that preparations were being done to handle cases of side effects, if any.
Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who is the state minister tasked with overseeing the fight against Covid-19 in Sabah, said that 1,400 frontliners in the state had been infected by Covid-19 since the outbreak in March began.