To remember the many changes most of us have faced since the pandemic – economic downturn, people losing their jobs, frontliners working triple quadruple hard, everything going online really fast, just to name a few.
Oh, yes, COVID-19 has made quite an impact on all of us since it was first reported in 2020.
And now the most trending news about COVID-19 in Malaysia, other than our ‘proud’ high number on a daily basis (thanks to those who insisted on Ramadan bazaar and balik kampung) is the National Immunisation Programme.
I’m not going to be a hypocrite, but there was also a point in life that I too was quite skeptical about the efficacy of the vaccine. In fact, just like many, many global citizens who are against it today, I was worried if it would have any negative effects on me.
But that was last year.
Seeing how Malaysians continue behaving like Malaysians (let’s face it, Malaysians are not the most disciplined of people!), causing the daily number to go up and down like a roller coaster, I’ve finally convinced myself to go and register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Besides, the whole getting-a-golden-passport on the MySejahtera app was a very appealing incentive in my personal opinion. Imagine, once the border reopens to travel, wow, wouldn’t I be one of the earliest people to pass through without much issues, considering that I’ve completed my vaccination?
Think, Willy Wonka and the golden ticket, how happy Charlie was!
So, I got my first vaccination on 16 April 2021, yes, in Ramadan. Honestly, the injection itself was not painful. I even went to The Pearl Kuala Lumpur for iftar with my Chinese Husband. He teased if an increase in appetite was one of the side effects. Eh, shut up, you!
Anyway, I didn’t start feeling sore until very much later at night. But it was already the weekend, so it was pretty much manageable for me. I did feel rather sore not only on the injection site, but all the way to my chest and back. I could barely lift my arm. Again, like I said, it was manageable. I didn’t even have to break my fast to eat painkillers.
The challenge was the second dose 3 weeks later, also on a Friday in Ramadan. While waiting for my second jab, I asked around and many, many people shared their different responses. Some said they managed the second dose much better than the first dose. Some admitted they had a fever the next day. Others said they only vomited and some had diarrhoea.
So, there I was at the vaccination centre playing games and texting my old roommate from college, Kak Anis who works at a private hospital in Malacca. To my surprise, she told me she just had a baby. Oh, my God! I’m a terrible friend but let’s get back to that later.
After my jab, I didn’t feel any soreness until much later at night. The funniest thing was, I didn’t recall waking up early morning for my sahur and I believed I only lied down like a vegetable for the entire day. I even texted Dr. Lily Diana Zainudin, a Respiratory Physician whom I’m familiar with. She said she had a fever for 2 days. So, I suppose I still had one more day to recover.
Do I feel any different, actually no. I still feel the same. However, I’m actually happier to get my vaccination early because now I see how Malaysians react towards COVID-19 vaccines and it really scares the Sugar Honey Iced Tea (learn the acronym) out of me! I get it, Social Media makes them more daring to speak out but for all the wrong reasons? I just don’t get it.
So here I am, writing about the experience 2 months later.
Even Kak Anis, who is breastfeeding her baby, took the vaccination because she knew that it was to protect her newborn. So, my advice to all Malaysians, please go and get vaccinated. Whichever vaccine you take, it is for your own health and safety. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor, not your friend. After joining this group of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, I am more scared of them and their lack of knowledge. Even one of the senior Consultants Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Dr. Premitha Damodaran warned me against mingling with this group, but that’s a story for another time.
Here are some simple tips for those who are scheduled for vaccination:
- Hydrate yourself well a few days before the vaccination. Drink 3 litres of water if you can.
- Have a good meal before your vaccination.
- Take paracetamol BEFORE your vaccination. Take another AFTER.
- If you have any history of side effects post-vaccination before, declare your status clearly.
- After the vaccination, you are required to update your MySejahtera app. Every time you experience a new side effect, you can update the app again.
- Stop listening to non-healthcare professionals when it comes to health-related matters. There’s a reason why your bomoh’s never found MH370 or cure cancer. Remember, anybody who spreads inaccurate information about the COVID-19 vaccination will be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communication & Multimedia Act 1998.