PUTRAJAYA (April 6): Universiti Putra Malaysia Teaching Hospital (HPUPM), which is a COVID-19 vaccination centre, is going that extra mile to gain the confidence of vaccine receivers and ensure their safety.
Three days before HPUPM’s vaccination centre began operating on March 8, the hospital performed a simulation to ensure that its vaccinators are ready to carry out their duties, and also to ensure the smooth and meticulous implementation of the entire process starting from registration until the completion of vaccination and observation.
A team of 14 vaccinators is involved in the first phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme at HPUPM.
HPUPM director Associate Prof Dr Muhammad Mohd Isa said the hospital has taken every care to make sure that the vaccination process runs smoothly so that the people have no reservations about taking the vaccine.
Besides complying with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, HPUPM has added value to its vaccination service by checking the blood pressure and blood oxygen level readings before and after a person receives the vaccine.
“We want to have a baseline just in case anything happens to a receiver. Since our hospital places importance on research, we will use the receivers’ data for the purpose of data analysis,” he told Bernama recently, adding that HPUPM staff are also assigned to contact the vaccine receivers to monitor their health following the vaccination.
Dr Muhammad said considering that the COVID-19 vaccine is something new, it is natural for people to feel uncomfortable about taking it.
“The situation worsens when all kinds of fake news and reports concerning the vaccines are circulated,” he said, adding that vaccinated individuals will have to continue wearing masks and complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the pandemic is still in force.
The National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which was rolled out on Feb 24 and will be implemented in three phases, targets to vaccinate 80 percent of the country's population or 26.5 million people by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, HPUPM nurse and vaccinator Norihan Daud, 46, said although administering vaccines is part of her job specifications, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not the same as other vaccines and has to be handled in a specific manner.
She said each vial of the vaccine, after it is diluted with saline solution, is sufficient for six doses of 0.3ml each. If there is any shortage in terms of the dosage, it cannot be topped up with the contents of another vial.
“Each vial should be sufficient for six doses. This is why we must make sure we extract the exact dose (0.3ml) for each person,” she said.
In the vaccination room, two or three staff will be on duty to oversee and verify the vaccine dilution and the vaccination process to ensure no miscalculations occur.
Norihan also urged the public not to be misled by the fake reports surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine issue.
“Refer to the accounts of healthcare experts and staff who have shared their vaccination experience on social media. Don’t let all those fake news cause anxiety and fear in you,” she said, adding that she hoped the people will come forward to be vaccinated as the vaccine is the best protection against the coronavirus.
“Within this one year, the pandemic has had a big impact on the nation and the people… getting vaccinated is the best way to rejuvenate the nation.”
Another HPUPM vaccinator Azni Abdul Latif said the staff at the vaccination centre work as a team to create a calm atmosphere for the vaccine receivers.
“We want them to feel calm because even among the frontliners there are some who are afraid of needles to the extent of them crying or shouting,” she said.
Azni also reminded those who have been vaccinated to continue adhering to the SOPs even though their risk of COVID-19 infection is low.
“The SOPs will prevent them from contracting other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis,” she added.
Dr Navin Kumar Devaraj, 43, who received his COVID-19 vaccine at HPUPM recently, said the vaccine has brought about a drop in cases in countries that have already implemented the COVID-19 immunisation drive.
“As I see it, the benefits outweigh the risks. So far, we have not seen any severe complications in healthcare workers who have received the vaccine. People should feel confident about the vaccine,” he said.
Nurse Nazhirah Azmi said the people should develop a positive outlook on the vaccine because if the nation does not attain herd immunity, COVID-19 cases would continue rising.
“How to achieve herd immunity if people continue to view the vaccine in a negative light? If you refuse to get the vaccine, no one can help you.
“There is no reason to be afraid of the vaccine… babies, too, receive vaccines to protect them against certain diseases,” she added.