Sunday, September 19

Of medical advice and Covid-19 vaccination

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Edgar Ong

WE ARE living in an age of instant news – indeed what I’d call an overload and a deluge of incoming unfiltered texts, messages, headlines, sound bites and video clips on the information highway.

Most of it we haven’t even asked for or enquired about – although to be fair, we have let ourselves be exposed to them, and be the target recipients of such the instant we have either subscribed to an online forum or joined a social media group such as those on WhatsApp or WeChat.

There is no end to the range of opinions expressed, as there are no filters too on the tons of news that bombard us from the moment our eyes open in the morning unti we lay our heads to bed at night.

Even during sleep, our smartphones continue to receive non-stop sound bites, news clips and messages. If you’re addicted to news and gossip, it’s pure heaven; if not, it could be quite a hellish experience.

After the coronavirus hit us all in March 2020, our lives have changed.

Only time will tell us which vaccine is better or more superior, if there’s any difference at all – most likely, both are as good as each other, but work in different ways. — Bernama photo

We are now more connected and in tune with the cyberworld and with all things plugged into our one single item of essential living in the modern world – the smartphone.

We receive news, messages and texts on it. We use apps on it that allow us to safely navigate the daily routines of shopping, dining, being entertained as well as visiting our doctors, lawyers, dentists and accountants – and so on.

We measure our every footstep, our heartbeats and glucose levels, take our temperature and set our alarms and appointments with it. Best of all we keep our dairies and our records, and we also take photographs and record videos and sounds on it.

It’s true to say that we would be completely lost without it nowadays. Such has been its total control over all our lives.

There are many important and essential apps that are now being used to help us navigate through this period of pandemic. The MySejahtera is a basic tool that we use to log into the many places we visit and it, in turn, also informs us about all the up-to-date data that the government has gathered about the covid-19 pandemic around us.

It is also vital right now as it allows us to register for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and it updates us on our appointment for the vaccination – the precise time, date and location. Please ensure that you have done this, and also help those under your care, or those who are not in a position to do so due to one reason or another.

Please be very careful and follow the instructions therein precisely; all the asked-for data must be filled, and all the responses to be clicked must be confirmed.

It is essential to also check MySejahtera on a daily basis once you have registered to be vaccinated, as to your fixed appointment time, date and venue for you to undergo vaccination.

You must also click and confirm that you would be there.

For those not having the app, please go to your nearest polyclinic to do so as soon as possible. Phase 2 has just commenced and the vaccination is taking place from April 17 until this Aug 31.

Most of us have been receiving an overload of texts, forwards and video-clips telling us about which vaccine is superior to another; what’s the efficacy rate; which ones are encountering issues and rejections around the world, etc etc.

We should listen and read all this with wariness and with some discernment – mostly with lots of questions in our head, asking what the original source of such texts would benefit from such so-called news and texts.

Are they really looking out for our best interests?

I doubt that very much. Most would have ulterior motives for doing so.

There are also people who would simply forward the message without even opening any attachment, any video-clip or any long text; and not be bothered to even read it all or digest it fully, but would simply just forward it on to another group, family members or friends – after all, it’s only one simple click.

These are the people I would term as ‘trigger-happy clickers’ – all they want is to be known as an early recipient of any viral message and be the first (or second) person to get it out as quickly as possible.

What has a ‘trigger-happy clicker’ to gain from this? Selfpride? Only God knows.

There are those who would read everything that they receive, filter it through and trash the fake news and nonsense – maybe if he feels that it would be good to share something that he believes in after having read and digested it, would then send it on to another friend or group. He may include a qualifying personal note saying it is still unverified, but sounds possible and likely; or he may suggest that it’s a reliable piece and worth reading about.

One thing is for sure right now that even the real professionals, the experts, the medical specialists, the doctors and the scientists are uncertain – no one really knows what the vaccine can and will do, other than to help curb the spread of the virus and help it control an even more disastrous future than if there were no vaccine.

Second opinions differ vastly in the medical field right now.

There are proponents of the Pfizer vaccine as there are supporters for the Sinovac vaccine; both of these groups are not wrong. Only time will tell us which one is better or more superior, if there’s any difference at all – most likely, both are as good as each other, but work in different ways.

However if you’re being asked to be vaccinated any time soon, just go for it – do not hesitate and there’s no need to have a preference for one type of vaccine over the other.

Any vaccine would help you lessen your exposure to the virus and help the world go quickly into the safety zone of herd immunity.

Right now, all that we want and pray for is to return to the world we once knew – pre-March 2020 when we could go about our usual daily lives, without face masks and having to sanitise our hands and keeping a physical distance between us; a world where we could travel at will, play and dine, be entertained, attend our worship services at will and most of all, we could be with our loved ones as often as we would like to.

Get vaccinated; get registered now; go for your vaccination when your appointment is advised.

Stay safe, keep well and continue to follow all the standard operating procedures (SOP) as strictly as you can.

God bless us all.