PETALING JAYA: #CucukMYAZ, a hashtag created to support the rollout of the opt-in AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, has been making its rounds on social media, as many people have used it to share their positive experience and excitement of getting vaccinated.
The hashtag creator, freelance content specialist Azreen Zahira said on Twitter that it took her two seconds to think of the trending hashtag #CucukMYAZ that is now being widely used by the public to promote vaccine confidence.
“I suggested it because it sounded casual and mildly funny (yes, because it sounds like "cucuk my...").
“I had been seeing a lot of anger and despair on Twitterjaya so I figured a few people would use the hashtag to 'lepas geram'. At most, I thought 10 mutuals would use it, ” she tweeted.
The 37-year-old, who goes by @rincredible on Twitter, commented that the popularity of the #CucukMYAZ hashtag showed that the AstraZeneca option has the ability to allow the country to achieve herd immunity faster.
“It showed that many people want to get vaccinated, and that people who are on the fence can change their minds if we just show them that it's not scary.
“I'm grateful to those who took the time to document their journey for others to see," she said.
Commenting on vaccine hesitancy among certain members of the public, Azreen told The Star that she believes that the right messaging would help instil confidence.
“I've heard from friends who are still struggling to convince their parents to get vaccinated, not just with AstraZeneca, but with all vaccines in general."
She said her own parents were quite hesitant of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to reports in mainstream media about blood clots and death.
“This despite my parents being generally quite savvy when it comes to news - I guess when the risks are more personal, people become more wary, ” she said.
Azreen suggested that people can encourage others who are still hesitant on getting the jab by dispelling their fears with the facts.
“My advice would be to ask and understand what the fears are, and understand that for them, those fears are valid.
“Tell them about people you know who got vaccinated and how they're doing just fine, ” she said.
She suggested that with many positive experiences being shared using #CucukMYAZ, people can also share out the stories to people who are not active on social media.
Azreen said she will be receiving her AstraZeneca vaccine jab after Hari Raya and hoped that it will in turn help her feel safe.
“I don't really have any expectations per se. I just want to be able to feel safe and see my parents without worrying I'm somehow going to infect them, ” she said.
She previously expressed hope that the public will continue to show encouraging response when the vaccine slots open up for other states.
She also urged the Sarawak government to consider changing their stance on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian had previously announced that the state would not use the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin had, on May 3, said that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine remained open to Sarawak if the state government decides to accept it.
Khairy also said the opt-in programme would be extended to the rest of the country with a batch of 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Covax facility this month.
Azreen encouraged those who missed out on the opportunity to sign up for the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine to grab the opportunity.
“To everyone who felt upset that they missed out on the first run of AZ vaccines - hang in there! Soon you too can sign up to 'kena' #CucukMYAZ, ” she said.