Access to Diabetes Care: If Not Now, When?
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It’s been a while since Malaysia started its Phase 2 COVID-19 vaccination for the general public. Have you received your jab yet? If yes, good for you; if no, make sure you know your appointment date. Not sure when it’s your COVID-19 vaccine appointment or how to sign up for vaccination? Let’s have a walkthrough:
Great! Now you know when and where you should attend your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. What’s next?
Well, of course is to:
Treat your COVID-19 appointment like a sacred and exciting date with the love of your life – arrive earlier or at least be punctual.
“What if I suddenly don’t feel like receiving the vaccination on that day? Can I just ffk (stands for fong fei kei, it means ditching or stand up on an appointment in Cantonese)?”
Technically you can. Receiving a vaccination is a voluntary action, you won’t be criminalised for ditching your COVID-19 appointment. However, unless you have a valid reason, you SHOULDN’T miss your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Here’s why:
If you think the true effort of vaccination lies within the few seconds of injecting the COVID-19 vaccine, think again. A vaccination campaign– especially the kind that intends to vaccinate the entire world population– is a huge endeavor. Most of the efforts are behind-the-scenes: manufacturing, quality control, logistics, storage in cold chain, and thawing are all necessary things that must be done before the jab reaches your arm.
Take the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as an example. Before mixing, the vaccine must be transported and stored in an ultra-cold freezer between -80°C and -60°C. Such freezers are no regular freezer that stores frozen fish and meat; they’re specially made, gigantic in size and very expensive.
Image via The New York Times
On the day of your appointment, the healthcare professional would need to thaw the frozen vaccine first before using. They can thaw it by transferring the vaccines into a refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C. As the vaccines come in vial, unpunctured vials may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 120 hours (5 days) only. Alternatively, the vaccine can also be thawed in room temperature, but it must be used within 2 hours. The vaccine will be mixed with 0.9% preservative-free normal saline before it's injected into your body. Such mixed vaccines can last for 6 hours only.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Image via U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mind you, after the healthcare professional took the vaccines out from the ultra-cold freezer, it cannot be returned to the freezer again. So if you ditch your COVID-19 appointment last minute, especially after the healthcare professionals have taken the vaccines out from the freezer, you might have wasted a part of the vial. Now, just imagine there are a dozen more people like you who ditched the appointment: how many vials would have been wasted?
The vaccine you may have wasted is not any regular vaccine – it’s a precious commodity in dire times like this. Currently, there’s a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines all around the world, particularly in India at the time of writing. While richer countries have the means to hoard on COVID-19 vaccines, many poorer countries are faced with the fate of inadequate vaccines for their people.
Malaysia is blessed to have secured more than enough COVID-19 vaccines for the people. Therefore, it’s really up to us to play our part right: sign up for COVID-19 vaccination and attend the appointment. We count on each other to end the pandemic.
If you have any enquiries related to COVID-19 and its vaccines, you can consult our COVID-19 Task Force, which consists of professional doctors and healthcare professionals, for FREE!
You can access to free COVID-19 virtual health advisory by downloading the Doc2Us app on http://onelink.to/doc2us or use our web chat https://web.doc2us.com/
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination programme in Malaysia, visit https://www.vaksincovid.gov.my/
Disclaimer: COVID-19 is a novel disease. The information and scientific evidence of its development and vaccines are changing as we speak. Some content of this article may be outdated in the future. We encourage you to always speak with a healthcare professional you trust for the latest updates on COVID-19 and its vaccines.
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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine -Vaccine Preparation and Administration Summary
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary
The New York Times - How to Ship a Vaccine at –80°C, and Other Obstacles in the Covid Fight
Cover image credit: Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
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