Getting your COVID-19 vaccine shot can be quite a stressful experience.
After all, there's so much that we don't really know about the vaccines themselves.
Will I suffer weird side effects? Will it be life-threatening? Will I grow a third leg or arm, and specifically for the AstraZeneca vaccine, could it result in me having blood clots and dying?
These were some of the questions running through my head as I waited in line for my AZ shot.
Despite doing a hell of a lot of reading and understanding that risks of blood clots and dying were extremeeeeeeeeeely low, I was still nervous, anxious and surprisingly emotional.
I just got my vaccine on 10 May at Dewan Gemilang in UKM.
I'm hoping that by breaking down red the whole experience, it will help you understand what to expect when it's your turn to get your shot.
Be on time
Be there on time and no, not Malaysian time but actual time people!
I arrived about 15 minutes before my scheduled slot (which was at 12.30pm), and there were already quite a number of people on standby.
Looking back, it would have been better to arrive at least half an hour before la.
That time can be used to calmly look for parking, prepare what's needed and not be so kancheong.
As you enter, you will be required to check in with your MySejahtera app (the usual check-in you do at shops and outlets).
Next, you will be directed to a counter, where you will be handed two copies of the vaccination consent form.
At Dewan Gemilang, tables and pens were provided.
Just head on over to one of the tables, calmly fill up both copies of the form and refrain from signing.
The form in a pretty simple one. It requires you to fill up checkboxes related to your medical history, and write down your name and identification details.
Next, you'll be directed to a waiting area outside the main hall. Mine had about five rows, and people were ushered into the main hall in groups of 30.
The waiting time was pretty short. I think I only waited for about five minutes before being called in.
Here, an official (for me, it was a police officer) checked my MySejahtera app to make sure that my appointment date and time were accurate.
Don't try and cheat the system by appearing earlier because it will be highly likely that you're rejected.
Walk-ins are strictly not allowed too.
Basically, bersabar and follow your date and time slot, OK?
Here is where they check your temperature, and they double-check your Identification Card against the details stated in the MySejahtera app.
If you do not present your IC, you will not be allowed to continue with the process.
I was in panic mode at this time, so it took me a while to find my IC (which was annoyingly stuck to some other card..fine, cards!).
A good tip would be to have your MyKad and your phone on standby.
It will be used a lot during the whole process.
Here, the official asked me to check-in from the vaccination page on the app. They're basically registering that you actually showed up for your appointment here.
They also reconfirm that you've agreed to get the AZ Vaccine and you're sent the next station.
At this section, you will be told to wait in line to meet more friendly officials who will go through the form again and reconfirm your current health status.
They will ask you if you've been in close contact with anyone who has had COVID-19 or to any cluster.
They will also ask if you've had allergic reactions to previous vaccinations and if you have any serious medical problems.
I have asthma, and I'm allergic to Amoxycillin.
That was written down clearly on my form.
I was then given a number and directed to a section to wait for my shot.
I sat in a row as directed by the officials and just waited for my turn.
The space where the shot is administered is partitioned off, and the entrances have curtains (so you have some privacy when scrunching your face in pain). LOL! KIDDING!
But honestly, it's nice to have some privacy when getting inoculated.
It took about five minutes for the medical officer to usher me into the curtained vaccination space.
I sat down and let out a huge sigh when the medical officer asked if I'm ready to get my shot.
"Can I ask you a few questions first?"
"Of course you can. Ask away!" she replied.
I proceeded to ask about major side effects to look out for.
The officer said that fevers, chills and body aches were pretty normal.
She also advised me to head to a hospital if I started to vomit, notice allergies or feel faintish.
"Other than that, you should be fine. I had a pretty high fever when I got my shot," she assured.
After being satisfied with all the explanations, I finally took the shot.
It happened in a few seconds. It only hurt very slightly as the needle pierced my skin, and that's it.
The officer gently put on a plaster on the area, and I was told to proceed to the next space.
As I entered station 10, the friendly volunteer at the entrance greeted me with a hearty "Congratulations!".
That was lovely to hear!
At Station 10, you wait your turn to confirm that you've taken the vaccine and update your MySejahtera app accordingly.
Don't try and do any updates on your own. The officials at the counter will guide you through the process using the app.
I was next ushered to another space for observation purposes.
They usually keep you there for about 15 minutes to half an hour.
I just played with my phone and took loads of pictures while waiting for my time to be up.
This wasn't technically a station but a must-stop (in my opinion).
Before exiting, you can take pictures at a cute photobooth set up to say that you're done with your first dose.
Here you can hold up props saying that you got your shot and flex online (if you want to, of course).
And that's it, you're then ushered to the exit, and you can go home!
Allowances for disabled people and the elderly
While it is good to follow the scheduled time slots, if you are an OKU or an elderly person, you can actually speak to the volunteers to see if you can be attended to as soon as you arrive.
If you're getting vaccinated at Dewan Gemilang, UKM, just drive up to the main stop entrance and let one of the officials there know.
They will sort out the rest.
While waiting for my shot, I also noticed some children assisting their elderly parent so don't worry, if you speak to the officials, they will most likely allow you to enter the main hall with your parent too.
Of course, don't abuse this privilege la. Don't appear with your whole kampung and expect to teman someone as they get their shot.
The lesser people hanging around, the better. #covidspreadseasilyincrowds
Efficient, attentive and a great experience
For someone who arrived being so nervous, I left the hall thinking about how much unnecessary mental stress I put myself through about the whole vaccination process.
It was efficient and easy.
There were chairs at all the areas, only limited people were allowed in, sanitisers were provided all over the space, social distancing was practiced, officials were there to answer all questions and concerns, the waiting time was not long at all and the injection was not painful.
It's been more than 24 hours since I got my shot now, and the only side effect that I have encountered is that my injected arm feels extremely sore.
I also feel slightly feverish, but other than that, I'm fine.
Of course, different people will have different reactions to the AZ Vaccine.
I personally encourage you to document how you feel for the next couple of days.
It can be through a vlog, pictures, social media or maybe just write it down somewhere.
It's always good to keep tabs.
Other than that, don't be nervous, follow the instructions and confidently get your shot done.
If you have more questions, just hit us up on Rojak Daily's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and I will try and answer them for you.
All the best!