KUALA LUMPUR: Reigning All-England champion Lee Zii Jia missed out on receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine due to illness.
He was supposed to be among the first batch of 264 athletes and officials, bound for the Tokyo Olympics (July 23-Aug 8) and Tokyo Paralympics (Aug 24-Sept 5), to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine jabs at the Desa Tasik Sports Complex Hall in Cheras yesterday.
National men’s singles head coach Hendrawan said the 23-year-old Zii Jia had been ill for the past two days, most probably due to fatigue after attending many functions since his All England success last month.
“Yesterday (Monday), we checked with the doctors at the National Sports Institute (NSI), and they said he won’t be able to receive the vaccine jab, ” said Hendrawan, who himself had been vaccinated at the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme of the Youth and Sports Ministry yesterday.
“It’s normal fever, his swab test came back negative and he has also done a blood test for suspected dengue fever.
“His preparation isn’t affected, just that he may be tired or hasn’t had enough rest after attending so many functions in the past few days.”
Hendrawan said the National Sports Council (NSC) would reschedule Zii Jia’s vaccine jab appointment.
Meanwhile, the Youth and Sports Ministry gave no guarantee that the national football team will receive their vaccine shots before travelling to the United Arab Emirates in June to complete their 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Its minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the ministry had already submitted a proposed list of athletes to be given priority in the second vaccination phase for approval by the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme committee and its Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The list consists of three groups of more than 4,000 athletes and officials, including 1,000 individuals such as Malaysian Football League and hockey players, and athletes due to compete in domestic and international events. “I’m trying (to get them vaccinated) under the second phase, but this all depends on available supply, ” said Reezal.
“I cannot pre-empt what is being decided by Khairy and the immunisation programme committee, so these groups will only receive their shots when there is supply.
“The number of those (athletes and officials) under the second phase is quite large and they have to cross states and be part of the sports bubble.
“So, in the event they do receive the vaccine, their jobs will be made much easier.”
Those who received the jabs yesterday are due to be given their second dose on May 4, except for the national diving squad who will receive them after returning from the Diving World Cup in Tokyo from May 1-6.
Meanwhile, NSI chief executive officer Ahmad Faedzal Md Ramli said those who have been vaccinated will be monitored for side effects and other issues. — Bernama