LIPIS, June 16 — The eagerness of Kamarulzaman Mat Jalih and his wife Zariyah Awal to get in line for the COVID-19 vaccine is tempered by the transportation constraint they faced.
What bothers the 82-year-old ailing senior citizen from Kampung Kuala Kenong here, the most is that he and his wife need to take a boat to cross Sungai Jelai before hopping on other’s car or renting it to get to the vaccination centre (PPV) at the nearest health clinic.
“I’m not afraid to get vaccinated…I’ve experienced taking vaccines twice, before I went to Makkah (to perform Haj). I know that the vaccine can help protect us from getting sick. I’ve heard a lot about the danger of COVID-19 which can be fatal, on television.
“It’s just that we are old and no longer able for a long-distance walk. Therefore, we are very grateful upon knowing that doctors would come here to provide the vaccine shot for me and my wife,” he said when met at his house yesterday.
Kamarulzaman and Zariyah, 81, were among the 20 recipients of the first dose of Sinovac vaccine administered by the Lipis district health office’s mobile vaccination unit, involving the elderly and persons with disabilities (OKU) in a programme organised by the Ministry of Rural Development (KPLB).
To get to the village, personnel from the mobile vaccination unit have to take a boat and travel using four-wheel-drive vehicles via rubber plantation roads.
Also taking part in the programme was Rural Development Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad.
Kamarulzaman hoped that such programme could be carried out in other villages and rural areas to enable more senior citizens to get inoculated because they are categorised as high risk.
Another resident, Tahirah Yunus, 60, said most villagers prefer to use Sungai Jelai to get to the nearest town as travelling via roads with uneven surface and bends could take them up to almost an hour, just to reach the main road.
“I don’t want to trouble my children who live in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak. My husband and I have registered for the vaccination through the MySejahtera application, but we did not expect that the doctors would come here to carry out the vaccination programme,” she said.
Nurul Huda Mohamed Ramly, 40, said she was relieved to see her father Mohamed Ramly Abas, 83, receive his first dose vaccine shot as he had previously insisted on not getting vaccinated without giving any reason.
Nurul Huda said she has been persuading her parents to take the vaccine, but only managed to convince her mother, Romlah Zakaria, 67, to receive the vaccine shot at the PPV on May 10.
“Yesterday, my father unexpectedly told me that he wanted to get the vaccine upon learning that a team of doctors would be coming here. He might change his mind after seeing my mother did not experience any health issue after getting vaccinated,” she said.