Better safe than sorry, say elderly


Being cautious: Senior citizens waiting for their turn to get the second booster vaccine doses at the Ayer Itam health clinic in Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Despite spending most of his time at home, a septuagenarian battling various illnesses received his second booster shot just to be sure.

Chen Ah Ten, 76, said he firmly believed that getting the additional booster could help prevent severe symptoms among the elderly and high-risk groups.

“Since I fall under the high-risk category, it was good that I got my second booster. Although I only go out occasionally for meals, I feel safer after being vaccinated,” said Chen, a double-leg amputee who has diabetes, high blood pressure, and other illnesses, after receiving his second booster jab at the Ayer Itam health clinic yesterday.

Another booster recipient, Teoh Poo Kim, 78, hoped that more would step forward to get their boosters.

“I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and although I seldom go out, I want to be protected for the sake of my children and grandchildren,” she said.

Retiree Kular Kanoo, 66, who is mostly outdoors, said he felt safer after receiving his second booster shot. “I visit the market and bank frequently. Besides, I have asthma and high cholesterol.

“Although I have not been Covid-19 positive, I want to get the booster to better protect myself,” he added.

Dr Parvindarjit Kaur of the health clinic said those who got their first booster jabs six months ago or more should get the second booster if they are eligible.

“Our immunity will go down with time. It is better to ‘top up’ your booster, especially for those who fall under the high-risk category.

“Although those who have been vaccinated can still contract Covid-19, the symptoms that they experience will be milder,” she said.

Dr Parvindarjit added that the second booster dose is currently being prioritised for those who are 60 and above, those above 18 with medical conditions, and also medical frontliners.

Volunteers For Community Engagement and Empowerment For Covid-19 chairman Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said getting a second booster shot could enhance a person’s waning immunity.

“It may also prevent further reinfection by the same Covid-19 virus or new variants,” he said.

On July 19, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that those aged between 50 and 59 years old without comorbidities would be allowed to take second booster jabs.

Khairy also said those aged 60 and above, with or without comorbidities, may also opt for the second booster upon medical advice.

Penang health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said the number of people receiving their second booster shots had risen, with the figure currently at 6,843 for adults and 8,239 for those aged above 60.

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