GEORGE TOWN: Eager to have their children vaccinated against Covid-19, some parents tried their luck and walked into vaccination centres without an appointment.
They were turned away and informed that the vaccination programme for those aged 16 and 17 that kicked off yesterday was only for boarding school students.
Before 9am, more than 10 families showed up hoping to get vaccine shots for their children.
“My family is fully vaccinated except for him,” said engineer Teh Boon Keat, 47, who took the day off to take his son Melvin, 16, for vaccination.
“I saw messages circulated online saying that students aged 16 and 17 can walk in to get the vaccine.
“We came but were told that students have to get a letter from their boarding school before they are allowed to be vaccinated.
“My son will have to ask his teacher about what to do next,” he said.
Ku Myiet Mooy, 51, also brought his 16-year-old daughter in hopes of getting her inoculated at about 9am. They were similarly turned away.
“I heard from my friends that it is now allowed. She did not get any appointment through MySejahtera, so we came to see if she could be vaccinated.
“We were told that only those with school authorisation letters are allowed to receive the jab. My daughter will contact her teacher for advice,” he said.
Meanwhile, students from boarding schools who got their shots heaved a sigh of relief.
Among them was Amir Hafizi, 17, who studies at SM Sains Kubang Pasu, a boarding school in Kedah.
Accompanied by his mother Hayati Mohd Yusoff, 51, Amir said he registered through MySejahtera on June 5 and received his appointment on the app on Tuesday.
“I am happy and relieved. I am sitting for my SPM this year and we are studying online now.
“After getting both my doses, I will be ready to head back to school,” he said.
Khairul Azwan Mohd Ali, 17, who studies at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Terendak, a boarding school in Melaka, is another happy student who got his first shot.
“I registered on MySejahtera since May and received my appointment on Tuesday.
“I came back to Penang when the movement control order was implemented in June.
“My parents are supportive of me getting vaccinated and my father brought me here today (yesterday),” he said.
Setia SPICE Convention Centre PPV manager Dr Norhashimah Ismail said the programme was only for students with a permanent address in Penang and studied at boarding schools outside the state.
She said 100 such students were expected to get their shots yesterday.
Starting today, vaccination for Penang school students aged 16 and 17 without comorbidities will be between 9am and noon as a pilot test. Walk-in is still not allowed until Oct 5, according to an earlier statement by the government.
“On the island, we expect about 1,000 students from schools in north-east and south-west districts.
“The two schools in north-east district are Phor Thay High School and SM Teknik Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra,” said Dr Norhashimah.
She said students would be notified through MySejahtera and that they should arrive with at least one parent or guardian.
“Students are advised to bring the necessary documents, especially the Covid-19 vaccination consent form, to ensure the vaccination process goes smoothly.
“For the time being, we do not allow walk-in for students yet,” she said.
On Sept 11, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Penang would start the vaccination programme for teens in the fourth week of September.
There are about 130,000 teenagers in the state who have been identified as being eligible for vaccination.