Input your search keywords and press Enter.


By : Aidalina binti Mahili

Her recent post has garnered 199 likes, she was gleefully holding the most coveted placard, the one that read, “Saya telah DIVAKSIN” (“I’ve been vaccinated”). I did not think I would be crazy jealous because I am fully aware that she is a front liner, deservingly to be amongst the firsts to receive the country’s preliminary vaccination rollout. Nonetheless a huge part of me felt a great relief. A year ago we were slapped with the new norms where we were vehemently told that the greatest act of love is to stay away from the ones we care about, that your cosy, beautiful home doubles as a confinement space where nothingness breeds into resentment. Then the second wave hit, we realised we have lost a great deal, from deaths, to jobs, to education, to family institutions and more. The dark tunnel seems endless and that we still had a long way to go, or so we thought.

We might have forgotten that in the face of adversity like surviving the pandemic, not only we have risen together, our hope and faith became mutual too, we pray to be rescued, we wanted to stay safe. The historical ferrying of vaccines on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH604 operated by MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo) on February 21st marked the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 into the country, it was our first ray of hope. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the coordinating minister for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme wasted no time putting words into action; the implementation of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme rolled out two days earlier than scheduled.

 The day of vaccination is finally happening with our front liners being given the priority and honour to be vaccinated first simply because they are at risk of being exposed to the virus in undertaking their duties; undoubtedly the country’s unsung heroes. COVID-19 was first coined in February 2020 and fast forward today other ‘pandemic’ keywords include quarantine, staying at home, not dining in the restaurants, roadblocks, sanitise your hands, isolate, postpone, disinfect and even zoom-meeting became the most hated phrases since March 2020. The strength of refraining oneself from doing things against his will ought to be praised, to be rewarded with a good news just like an ahead-of-schedule vaccination rollout.

Malaysians are very lucky as we embarked the journey of flattening the curve, the government got our back and along the way has done everything within their capacity to accelerate the people’s wish that all this will soon be a distant memory. This pandemic has become the testament of love, respect and tolerance we have for each other. As much as we are divided in so many things, such as SOPs, MCO, quarantine, essential services, online learning and so on, but the end of the day, we concede that we have to get out from this turmoil. Finally, we could agree with each other, or at least 2/3 of us that vaccination is the answer.

Immunisation has been the core of primary health care and indisputable human rights. Besides being tremendous in eradicating disease, immunisation has been one of the best discoveries human kind has gotten in order to underpin the global health security, and the godsent weapon in the prolonged battle against antimicrobial sceptics. As for Malaysia, we aim to vaccinate close to 83 per cent of the 33 million population.

Catching up speed, the vaccine rollout program has so far glided smoothly. With the confidence people have for his credibility, Khairy executed the vaccination drive with almost zero glitch, complemented by his acclaimed social media presence. An avid user of the social media, – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, (5 million followers combined) Khairy, despite the arduous work, appears effortless in promoting the National Immunisation Program. His tweets, posts, press statements were reliable, accurate, plausible and most sought after. Prior to the rollout, Khairy even addressed public concerns via Clubhouse, an audio-only platform that’s currently exclusive to iOS devices. His priority is for the programme to stay relevant and up-to-date.

In all seriousness, the public MUST know that the real strategist behind this best laid-out communication plan is the government servants. None of these can be successfully put into execution, if there is no contribution by our front liners and back liners. Underrated, rarely acknowledged and mostly ridiculed; they deserve all of our appreciation if not more. They act upon by integrating various sectoral policies, implementing strategic actions, managing national resources, mobilizing security operations, ensuring efficient compliance with field implementation as well as continuous improvement efforts. All of these are implemented in a dynamic, realistic and practical crisis management environment. Various ministries and agencies are also actively involved based on their respective portfolios. Imagine it is a systematic communication network that feeds on information every single second to ensure a smooth running mechanism to fight this invisible enemy.

The only way we could pay back their emotionally draining, backbreaking work is by supporting the cause. As most of us march forward with the mutual objective attaining eradication of the virus, there will always be a handful of cynics who think it is cool to be hesitant. A survey by the Health Ministry in December last year showed one-third of Malaysians remained sceptical of vaccines and unnecessarily worried about side effects. These naysayers are more fatal than the ones carrying the virus itself. Not only they are confident with their beliefs, they are very vocal in expressing out their opinion based on hearsay and tittle tattle. Unfortunately, their story sells and quick to become a reference.

Despite scientific evident proving vaccines have prevented more than 20 of life-threatening disease, and promoting millions of lives, these naysayers will continue to drag the argument down to their level through baseless conspiracy theories. And these people will never get tired of instilling doubt by fearmongering. These scaremongers establish social media as their feeding ground for information on these platforms spread almost instantly and extensively. At one time, this ill-informed lot had successfully surpassed the pro vaccine with a hefty margin. But, thankfully, with aggressive fuelling the users with facts and neat narrative, these people lost their grip and like pandemic we could slowly obliterate them by becoming the vaccines itself, providing reliable data from accredited source.  While their premise is always “My body my rights”, we have strong logic to invalidate that statement. No one is safe until everyone is safe. What you do to your body will contribute to those around you. Thus, by chanting “my body my rights” proves nothing but a downright selfish and entitled prick who doesn’t deserve to live in a community. At this rate, being an influencer doesn’t mean to have a solid social media platform, all of us now are influencers. Our role may be small but huge in terms of impact. Imagine the domino effect we’ll be having if each and every one optimizes their capacity to influence others to choose vaccination.

In order to eliminate unnecessary fears and to build public confidence of the vaccination procedures, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin became the first to be administered with part one of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a public clinic in Putrajaya, one of the designated 532 vaccination centres in the country. And just when we thought everything was smooth, the thing we weighed the least, happened. They (the ill-informed resistant) begin to propagate the colour of the needle. The issue may be a face-palm moment for the healthcare workers for never have they been questioned about the colour of the syringe! As much as silly rumours could spread like wild fire, the coordinator was not having these cynics’ nonsense. It is deemed damaging and capable to influence others from yay to nay, hence a day before the launching of the program Khairy issued a warning. Quoting him, he will ensure that the Communication Plan is top-notch in building confidence among the people. This includes prompt feedback on any questions raised by the people (no questions is not important), apart from fending off false news that is expected to be more when the Immunisation Program commences. If any untoward incident occurs at the PPV, the public are requested to consult and refer only to views of the expertise instead of the netizens who only take advantage to sensationalize the issues.

The role of MPs and Politicians is to instil vaccine confidence to the people. According to data, the third phase requires that almost two third of Malaysians to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity at 70%. Therefore, all individuals in each area represented by the Assembly Man and Representatives of the People should be delegated and identified so that none are missed out from the COVID19 Immunisation Programme. This is where the synergy between civil servants and politicians needs to be steadily fulfilled so that the objectives are met.

In the short run, the result we expect are to reduce the cost of COVID19 treatment and minimize the socioeconomic implications that people have faced over the course of a year we handle this pandemic. It is possible for Malaysia to complete the immunisation programme by the end of this year provided that the vaccine supply can arrive according to schedule and if we can vaccinate a peak of 150-160K people per day. We must not lose sight of the prize and as we set our target to win this battle, we must first be a responsible citizen. Make sure that all of your family members have registered for vaccination via the MySejahtera app, turn on the push notifications and frequent the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme page at Be well-informed so you could be quick to cease the spread of misinformation. Don’t let the negative trumps the positive by setting the record straight, convince people by sharing positive post-vaccination stories, repost photos of vaccinated friends and families, this will serve as a validation once more people take up the vaccines.

With that I wish to share with you my new email sign-off;

“Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do. We are not safe until everyone is safe.” 

** The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of M-Update