Proud to be among first vaccine recipients

Done and dusted: (From left) Sheila, Dr Tan, Khairul and Francis posing for a group photo after receiving their Covid-19 jabs at the Putrajaya Federal Territory Health Department. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: He may not be the first to receive a Covid-19 jab in Malaysia but being among the first of frontliners to be vaccinated is more than surreal for Clement Marai Francis.

The driver of the district health office here said he was proud and ecstatic to get vaccinated shortly after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“It was such an unforgettable experience. I mean, to be the next in line to get vaccinated after the PM, that is something I’ll remember for a long time, ” he told reporters when met yesterday.

Francis was among four health frontliners to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 jab as part of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Together with Muhyiddin and Dr Noor Hisham, the four were vaccinated at the Putrajaya health office.

The 36-year-old said as an ambulance driver, he was constantly exposed to the risk of being infected with the disease.

“I often send Covid-19-positive patients to health facilities.

“At times, I was also tasked to collect Covid-19 test samples from hotels and test centres to laboratories.

“I have a three-year-old child. So it is important for us to be vaccinated as soon as possible due to the high risks involved, ” said Francis, who has served in the Health Ministry for eight years.

He also urged all his friends to register and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Most of my friends are keen to get the jab. I will tell them that they should not be worried about the side effects, based on my experience today, ” he said.

The other frontliners who received their shots were assistant health officer Khairul Asraf Mohd Yasin, 44, medical officer Dr Tan Yee Ling, 30, and nurse Sheila Melissa Sikin, 31.

Dr Tan, who is based at the Precinct 9 health clinic here, described the experience as an “interesting role-reversal”.

“I used to inject my patients, so it is quite interesting to be the one getting the jab now.

“I am proud to be among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccination and hope the programme will help to control the pandemic successfully, ” she said.

Separately, Lina Ibrahim, who is the chief nurse of the Putrajaya health office, said it was a momentous occasion for her to be given the task to administer the Covid-19 jab on the Prime Minister.

“When I was informed, naturally I felt nervous. But I am glad that it went well and now, I feel relieved!” Lina said, adding that the practice and simulations that the nurses had gone through had helped.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating minister of the immunisation programme, said health frontliners were chosen based on their varied backgrounds.

“We have medical officers, a nurse and a driver to show that we cover as many sectors in healthcare as possible.

“Even contract workers who are involved in cleaning at hospitals will be vaccinated under the first phase for frontliners, ” he said.

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