Vaccine appointments – Hottest date of the season

Have you got a date? And I don’t mean a “social romantic appointment”, but a date with the hottest item of the season – Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac or AstraZeneca.

According to the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply, more than two million people have been vaccinated (at least with the first dose) while another 1.1 million have already had both doses.

These are out of more than 12 million who have registered. Bear in mind that we are already in the middle of 2021. To reach herd immunity, we would need to achieve a vaccination rate of at least 80 per cent (or 26.7 million people).

Currently, we are in Phase 2 (running from April to August) of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which covers some 9.4 million people comprising the elderly, the chronically ill and people with disabilities.

I actually know of some who fall under Phase 2 who have yet to get a date for an appointment.

For those above 18 and who don’t fall under the Phase 2 category, the wait for a date is agonising. Making it even more excruciating is seeing people getting their shots and posting it on social media.

Yes, vaccine envy is real.

While we know our turn is coming, it doesn’t mean we like the waiting, particularly when cases are soaring, and more Covid-19 variants are reaching our shores.

We have been battling the pandemic for more than a year now and securing an appointment for the vaccine is like trying to win a lottery ticket.

While I am glad to see more people getting vaccinated as we strive to achieve herd immunity and slowly easing regulations, I can’t help but wonder: “When will it be my turn?”

I don’t fall under Phase 2, hence, if it had not been for the recent AstraZeneca opt-in programme, I really wouldn’t know when my turn would come.

Fortunately, I managed to get a date, thanks to the opt-in programme, but that episode left me frustrated and angry.

The system was a mess and with the “first come first served” basis, every vaccine chaser was rushing for a slot. It was like buying concert tickets and hoping for the best seats.

Here we are, hoping that every eligible person would be vaccinated in a timely fashion. But the vaccine rollout has been slow.

As Malaysia grapples with trying to reach herd immunity, it is sad to see how other countries seem to fare better, particularly when we see our neighbour, Singapore, including their teenagers in their vaccination programme.

The number of young adults being infected with Covid-19 is on the rise.

In fact, health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had previously pointed out that the new variants in the country may be causing the spike in severe Covid-19 cases among the younger generation.

The number of deaths recorded in Malaysia has soared, hitting three digits a few days ago.

And those dying from the virus are getting younger.

The youngest victim to succumb to the disease was a four-month-old in Sabah, in February.

It would also be good if the government looked at vaccinating our adolescents as well – like our neighbours in Singapore.

But I am hopeful, as the vaccine supply is increasing each week, as announced by National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin. This means that the wait for an appointment date for vaccination will be soon for those who have yet to get their shots.

In the meantime, we should all play our role to stop the spread of Covid-19. Abide by the SOPs, maintain hygiene and avoid going out as much as possible.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait for my vaccination date so that I can get on with life and put Covid-19 on the back burner.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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