“Finally, I’ve received my first vaccine dose,” chirped Nazatul Afidah Md Noor at a vaccination centre (PPV) at the Sime Darby headquarters in Ara Damansara.
It was a joyous occasion for the 41-year-old, who got her Sinovac jab at 2.30pm yesterday.
However, it is not a typical PPV and not everyone can be vaccinated there.
Nazatul was, in fact, not waiting in a hall with hundreds of other vaccine recipients, but in the comfort of her car. Sitting on the passenger seat was her son.
She is among 16,000 persons with disabilities (OKU) in the Klang Valley who have been given the opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the new drive-through PPV facility in Ara Damansara.
The centre can handle up to 200 vaccinations a day. Yesterday was its first day of operations.
For each disabled person, one carer will also receive his or her shots at the centre.
Nazatul, who suffers from dyslexia and dyscalculia, said she was overjoyed when she received a notification on MySejahtera of her appointment two weeks ago.
“I told my parents and family about it, and they assured me the vaccine was safe,” she said. “In all those months of waiting since January, I didn’t lose hope because I knew I’d get mine when the time came. Patience is all it takes.”
Muhammad Sharif, 40, a caregiver and brother of Muhammad Shahidi, 30, who has Down’s Syndrome, lauded the government’s initiative for the OKU.
“I’m glad the government did not overlook this group. It would be hard for some of them to undergo the same vaccination process like everyone else,” he said.
Sharif said Shahidi was the only member of his family to have been vaccinated so far.
“The rest of us are still waiting for the appointment date. But that’s okay. As long as Shahidi has received his, the rest of us are relieved.”
Another OKU carer, Nur Fini, said she had been hoping to receive the vaccine together with her husband at the same time.
“They said for each OKU, one carer would also receive vaccination shots here. But somehow, I didn’t get mine. Maybe because this is the PPV’s first day of operation. I hope they can improve this part of the operation.
“Other than that, it was a smooth process.”
Her husband suffers from a severe brain injury and depends solely on her. “It will be hard for me to leave him when I get my vaccination appointment,” she said.
According to women, family and community development minister Rina Harun, the number of vaccine registrations by persons with disabilities remains low.
She said more than 600,000 OKUs were registered with the social welfare department of the ministry, but only 240,991 had so far registered for the vaccination programme through MySejahtera. Of that number, 10,229 have received their first dose. - FMT