Twins with Down Syndrome cannot wait for second dose

Photo used for illustration purposes only

IPOH – For twin brothers with Down Syndrome, Lam Wai Kin and Lam Wai Yip, waiting for their turn to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination centre (PPV), specially set up at Sekolah Semangat Maju, Ipoh, Friday, was indeed a very special moment.

Early in the morning, the twins, 39, were getting ready by wearing the same clothes, having breakfast and then waiting for their sister, Jennifer Lam, 46, to drive them to Sekolah Semangat Maju, a special school which provides education and training to intellectually disabled children and young adults, located about seven kilometres from their home in Bercham here.

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A special PPV was opened, specifically to administer the vaccine to those attending the school, in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department (JKM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH), starting Friday.

Upon entering the school gates, all recipients, including Wai Kin and Wai Yip, have to go through a thermal scanning process, before being taken to a special room to receive the vaccine in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set.

While waiting for the vaccination, all recipients were seated and accompanied by a guardian or school teacher, to avoid them feeling nervous.

After being vaccinated, the brothers, who work in a factory under the school association, were so happy and relieved that they could not wait to get their second dose soon.

“I’m not sick, I’m strong. I’m happy because I got vaccinated so I can go to the factory. I want to receive my second dose,” said Wai Yip when met by Bernama and RTM at the school compound before leaving for home.

Jennifer recalled that her two brothers did not show any nervousness at all, and wanted to complete the vaccination process immediately so that they could continue working, and stop feeling worried and anxious whenever they were going out with their family members.

Meanwhile, an employee of the Semangat Maju workshop, Megat Norizad Rosli, 20, who suffers from autism, said that he was nervous and scared to receive the vaccine, but still doing it to fulfil his responsibility.

“I don’t know what to say, I’m nervous, I’m scared but I have to get vaccinated because it’s very important. I’m thankful to be vaccinated because I’m scared of the virus now,” he said while waiting for his turn to be administered with the first dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Meanwhile, Sekolah Semangat Maju headmistress, Noor Ahisiah Che Enbi, 54, said that her school and JKM worked together to register all the school employees to get vaccinated, to protect students from the spread of COVID-19.

“The school, together with JKM, channelled the information of those aged 18 and above for registration for the vaccination. Before the school holidays (prior to Aidilfitri) we have registered the list of vaccine recipients, once we received consent from the parents.

“The total number of students who should get vaccinated was 139 but only 105 people were vaccinated today. The remaining 34 people could not be administered with the vaccine because they have health problems,” she said.

Expressing her satisfaction with the smooth running of the vaccination process, she added that the vaccines are very important at this time to reduce the risk of infection.

The school is the first in the Kinta district to be turned into a special PPV for the outreach programme for the disabled to get vaccinated, and there will be more schools receiving the same status in the future.

The initiative is to facilitate the vaccination process, so that more community groups get vaccinated to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.