FROM the start of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, the authorities have said that the first and second phases are for frontliners in Malaysia.
And, indeed, frontliners such as medical doctors, dentists, policemen, firemen, army personnel, etc, have been vaccinated. Sadly, veterinarians are still awaiting our turn. Did they miss out vets because they assume we only come in contact with animals?
We have been going to work as usual since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Even with the tighter SOP now, we still handle many emergency cases. And work is twice as hectic now as more people are working from home and seem to pay more attention on their pets' health. We meet many clients every day and are as exposed and at as high a risk as any other frontliner.
We have tightened the SOP for veterinary clinics, with all cases by appointment only and we limit the number of clients allowed inside the clinic at one time. Due to this some pet owners are even willing to travel a fair distance just to get an appointment for their pets if the vets near their homes are fully booked.
Recently, the government announced that factory workers and soon SPM students will be getting their vaccination. It seems like everyone else is passing us by. Are we that invisible?
For many people, a pet's health is as important as their own and they need our services. We veterinarians work very hard to ensure our patients get the best care but we are at high risk of contracting Covid-19 from our patients’ owners. There is only so much we can do to avoid this.
Even though we adhere strictly to the SOP, a few veterinary clinics’ staff have tested positive for the coronavirus and have been forced to close.
I hope vets won’t have much longer to be vaccinated – we are, after all, doctors too.
DR KRISHNAVENI JAYARAJ