JOHOR BARU: While senior citizens are grateful to the government for planning a booster shot, many are hoping the authorities relook the way the vaccination appointment is being given out as some are forced to travel almost 200km to get their vaccination.
They are hoping that those requiring booster shots will be allowed to just walk into the nearest vaccination centre to their home.
Retired teacher Chua Ah Tee, 74, from Muar, was shocked when he was given an appointment about 200km away in Johor Baru for his first dose.
“Earlier I had rejected an appointment via MySejahtera to have my vaccination done in Kulai.
“As my children were concerned about my health, my daughter decided to take leave to travel from Kuala Lumpur with a police permit to drive me to Johor Baru for my inoculation late June and for my second dose in July,” he said in an interview.
Chua, who is living on his own, said he was sad that he had to trouble his children to take leave to drive him to a vaccination centre all the way in Johor Baru.
“I hope that for the booster shot, those manning MySejahtera will just give us an appointment and let us take it at the nearest vaccination centre,” he said.
Another retiree, Tan Boon Lee, 66, had to drive more than four hours to and from Muar to get his 60-year-old wife vaccinated in Persada in Johor Baru.
“I got my shots in Muar, but my wife’s appointment for the first and second doses were in Johor Baru.
“Now that the government plans to give us a booster shot, I hope that they will consider our situation as senior citizens and allow us to get vaccinated in Muar,” he said.
Another senior citizen, K. Krishnan, 81, from Layang-Layang had to travel 45km to Kluang for his first dose.
Krishnan, who is a smallholder, said those manning MySejahtera should be careful when giving out appointments as even his 13-year-old grandson was given a slot for vaccination at the centre in Kluang early this month via the mobile app.
“Once he was there, the doctor checked and said it was a mistake and apologised.
“They instead administered a vaccine shot for the boy’s father who was not vaccinated despite being registered in MySejahtera for some time,” he said.
Another senior known only as Abdullah, 65, said he was given an appointment in Muar when he lived in Kulai.
“My children told me to cancel the appointment at least two times before they decided to pay for me to get my shots at a private clinic,” he said.
He said while it was good that the government wanted to look into the welfare of senior citizens by providing vaccines, it must be mindful of the location of the vaccination centre that they were being sent to.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had earlier announced that Malaysia would be offering a third dose or booster shot to vulnerable groups, including healthcare frontliners and the elderly living with comorbidities, next month.