With second Covid-19 vaccine booster mooted, senior citizens say willing to do what it takes to mitigate risks

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A senior citizen receives his Covid-19 booster shot at the KL Gateway Mall in Kuala Lumpur January 5, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A senior citizen receives his Covid-19 booster shot at the KL Gateway Mall in Kuala Lumpur January 5, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — At 74, retiree Hor Yoke Ngo said she has already received three Covid-19 vaccine shots and is willing to receive a fourth one as the second booster after Putrajaya announced its recommendation for those over 60 with comorbidities.

Hor joined other senior citizens who told Malay Mail they only experienced mild side effects from their immunisation, and have no trouble going through it again to ensure that their loved ones are protected.

“I have already completed three shots, I have not experienced any severe side effects.

“It may sound like I’m fortunate to only experience slight fatigue, but this is assurance to me to get another jab if there is a need for it,” Hor said.

She said along with her husband, she was the first in her family to get vaccinated, which in turn had convinced other family members to get theirs done as well.

She recalled her siblings being reluctant but after seeing that she did not experience much side effects, their mindset changed.

“They just needed a small push, and I was the push they needed.

“My husband and I live in the city centre, and each time we do our grocery shopping, we can’t do it with peace in mind that we might get infected.

“Yes, you can still get infected, but it reduces the chances of death, and we have friends who went through Covid-19 and are still healthy today,” she said.

Another retiree Hamid Abdullah, 65, said for someone his age another booster jab seems necessary as the coronavirus is still present even as the country has started its transition towards the endemic phase.

“If you think it’s scary to get a vaccine jab, think about getting Covid-19, the symptoms are definitely more severe, in my opinion.

“I believe it can protect us and when they say prevention is better than cure, this is an example of the saying,” Hamid said.

This comes as Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday called on senior citizens to go for their initial Covid-19 booster dose to be better protected before returning to their hometowns for Aidilfitri holiday.

In addition, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also said that Putrajaya is sticking to its stand to allow Malaysians to “balik kampung” to celebrate Aidilfitri with their families after two years of not doing so following the implementation of the movement control orders since the pandemic hit.

In June last year, the ministry said 60 of Malaysia’s Covid-19 clusters since May 2021 had been traced to two major festivals with 58 clusters from Aidilfitri celebrations and two from Gawai.

“When they say you have recovered from Covid-19, only the short-term effects are gone, the long term recovery such as lung recovery takes a long time, depending on how severely you were affected,” said another senior who wanted to only be known as Lim..

To choose between the two, Lim said he would go for the vaccine jab any day.

Having similar views, Leslie Tan, 75, said she would not mind going for another booster shot as her husband has yet to be vaccinated due to health constraints.

“At least my children and I are vaccinated, that gives me peace at heart whenever I go out even if it’s to get a takeaway meal.

“It isn’t like before where you can easily trace who passed the virus to you, almost anyone could have it and you can’t tell if they do,” said Tan when contacted.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health said it is recommending a second booster shot for individuals aged 60 and above with severe comorbidities as well as for children aged 12 and above who are immunocompromised.

Khairy said this choice will not be compulsory but voluntary, and further details on getting the shot will be announced soon.

He also said that those who are healthy and above 60 can similarly take the second booster shot, but only after consulting their physician and if this is more beneficial than risky.

On the other hand, husband and wife Chow Yew Fook and Lai Kow Moy, both 74 years old, said they do not feel it is necessary to go for another booster jab as they feel safe enough with a third jab.

“I don’t think I will go for a second booster jab, because the health minister said it will be for those with comorbidities and I don’t have any, except my leukaemia, and I don’t think that warrants a second booster.

“After all, look at the situation, Covid-19 is on the leaving side, if we take all the precautions, we don’t let our hair down, we will be okay,” said Lai.

Chow added that he feels safe enough with a third shot and he did not have health conditions that warrant another booster shot.

“I feel alright, everything is okay,” he said.

Yesterday, Khairy said currently about 77 per cent of the senior citizens in the country have received their booster dose but the ministry hopes to see 90 per cent or more receive the dose.

He explained that the Omicron variant may seem mild for most people, where they can recover at home, but for senior citizens and those with comorbidities, it could be serious and lead to them being admitted into the intensive care unit, being intubated or placed on ventilators.

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