Friday, May 28, 2021

Vax? The marginalised elderly in Kelantan - the abysmal failure of the Kelantan State government & PAS party

No transport or phones: Kelantan elderly left out of vaccine drive

The registration rates for the Covid-19 vaccines among those aged 60 and above may be lower than expected, including on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, due to various reasons.

Conversations with elderly folk in Kelantan indicate that they include transport issues, health issues and lack of awareness about the vaccine.

One such example is Mek Nab Said, 81, who lives on her own and admitted to having little knowledge about the vaccine or transport to go to the vaccine centre (PPV).

The Kampung Serian, Kota Bharu resident said had she known she would be given the vaccine, she would have accepted it willingly.

Kampung Serian, Kota Bharu resident Mek Nab Said

“I don’t know anything about vaccines. No one told me about it. I just know there is an illness called Covid-19 which is spreading rapidly. But I don’t know anything about the vaccine.

“In any case, I live alone and my children work out of state. If the hospital came to my house to provide me with information and the jab, I may be open to taking it since I can’t go to the hospital on my own.

“I want the vaccine if it is good for me, but I have difficulties moving from one place to another,” she said when met at her home.

Yesterday, Kelantan Health Director Dr Zaini Husin said 125,774 individuals aged 60 or older are qualified to be vaccinated in the state, in Phase 2 of the National Covid-19Immunisation Programme.

Of that 66,314 of them have registered to receive the vaccine, through the MySejahtera application.

Malaysiakini also reported that as of May 24, almost 10,000 Kelantan residents who were registered for the vaccine and offered appointments, did not show up. Many were senior citizens.

‘I don’t know how to register’

Another senior citizen, Mah Abdul Raman, 75, told Malaysiakini she had heard the other villagers speak about the vaccine, but she does not know how to register for it.

Senior citizen Mah Abdul Rahman

“I have heard people in the village talk about this vaccine, but I don’t have a telephone to register for it.

“At this age, I’m not too well-versed with such things. I don’t even have a phone, let alone know how to register through a phone,” she said.

She added that transport is also another reason stopping her from coming forward for the vaccine.

“I can only walk around the village because I don’t have any transport. I’m also afraid to leave the village because of this disease (Covid-19).

“I’m a single mother with only one child, who works out of state. It is difficult for me to have to hitch a ride with someone if I have to go to the vaccine centre,” she said.

Senior citizen Mah Hussin

Another senior citizen, Mah Hussin, 75, who lives in Kampung Wakaf Tok Wali, Kampung Bharu said her ailing health is a reason she did not register for the vaccine.

She said she does not have the strength to go to the vaccine centre and wait for her turn to be vaccinated.

“I’m 75 now and I don’t even have the strength to go to the hospital. I am often fatigued and have several diseases including asthma.

“It would be much easier for people like me if the hospital staff come over and vaccinate us at home. My child is a factory worker and can’t take time off to accompany me,” she said.

Mohd Nor Abdul Rahman 73, who lives with his wife, Bidah Daud, 75, also has trouble getting to the vaccination centre.

Senior citizens Mohd Nor Abdul Rahman and his wife Bidah Daud

They also do not have a smartphone to register via MySejahtera.

“If possible, we would like to be vaccinated because we heard this vaccine is good for us. But we don’t have a smartphone to do so and no vehicle to go to the vaccine centre,” he said.

Mohd Nor is also worried that his wife, Bidah, who is a cleaner at Klinik Desa Kampung Arif may be exposed to the virus at work.

“My wife walks to work because we don’t have a vehicle, and when she is there, she is exposed to so many people, and we don’t know if they’re infected or not.

“If the government helps people like us get the vaccine at home, we will willingly accept it,” he said.

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