i don’t really need or want to talk much about the day JKJAV opened up AZ for registration for the second time (it was a disaster and i did not actually get an appointment in the end) but suffice it to say that during the first week of June, i received a notification on MySejahtera that i got an appointment to get the AstraZeneca vaccine on 24th June.
it was a relief that i was lucky enough to be given an appointment date, but as 24th June approached, i also got gradually more nervous. i’m a strong advocate of “the best vaccine is the one most readily available for you”, but after reading and hearing all the post-AZ side effects, i was worried for two primary reasons: 1) i’m a huge hypochondriac and 2) having to take care of myself while sick sucks. you telling me i gotta cook my own sick food? anyway
one of the things that alleviated my anxieties and worries a lot was reading people’s experiences and questions in this Malaysian “Covid Vaccines Warriors Community” facebook group. you know Malaysians (and by extension, myself lol), anything that can remotely be asked, they will sure ask. which actually means that i managed to get a rough idea of how the whole vaccination process at WTC was like just by reading other people’s experiences. it also helped that a lot of people there are very helpful and genuinely want to help where they can.
the following is a detailed account of my whole vaccination experience at Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, in hopes that it would be useful to you, the reader, should you find yourself having a future vaccination appointment at WTC. i will flag up all the doubts that i had when i was there, so you don’t have to be all “omg what do i do” like i was.
before that, a list of things you should bring with you:
- a pen
- your IC
- your phone, of course
- you can bring a powerbank if you’d like, in case you need to wait for long queues (spoiler: i didn’t have to wait for very long so i ended up not having to use my powerbank)
- you can also bring a bottle of water, though they do provide water coolers almost everywhere so you don’t have to worry about that
- maybe an umbrella because it’s raining so much in KL recently, especially if you’re planning on taking Grab
on 24th June, disregarding my initial plan to drive myself to WTC (because my car battery died…), i took a Grab instead and reached WTC at around 11.45am, 15 minutes prior to my appointment. i have read a lot of people saying to not turn up more than 15-20 minutes earlier to avoid crowding. the Grab uncle was really friendly and nice, and dropped me off at the main entrance even though the default PPV entrance on Grab is apparently (?) on the 4th floor. so if you plan on taking a Grab too, maybe you can ask the driver to drop you off at the ground floor main entrance, otherwise you would still have to go down all the way to the ground floor anyway. it was not crowded at all when i reached (probably also because it was lunch time), but i was starting to get a bit anxious of missing my appointment with only 15 minutes to figure out where to go and what to do.
luckily, it wasn’t too hard to visually figure that out. right at the main entrance, there were volunteers/military personnel asking everyone to check what their station was and to enter the respective lanes accordingly. note: you don’t have to click the blue link on your MySejahtera appointment page to scan the QR code here. just the normal scan will do. i was assigned to station 3 (you can find out what your station is on your MySejahtera appointment page) so i followed the station 3 signboard and went down the hall. i went down a few halls actually, all guided by volunteers, until i reached an area where there were people seated in rows. here, the volunteers asked to scan MySejahtera again – also just a normal scan. i only waited around 5 minutes, before the volunteers called people up row by row to take the escalator up to the 4th floor.
after that i just breezed through a bunch of lanes, until i arrived at another hall.
the next hall was a huge one – it was where i was given two consent forms to fill in, together with a ticket number. they were playing a looped video on the projector so it would be very clear what you have to do with the forms, but here’s a step-by-step guide if it would be helpful for you:
- you will be given two double-sided consent forms. one sheet consists of English in the front, and BM on the back. you only have to fill in either English OR BM in one sheet, but you have to fill up BOTH sheets. this is where you need your pen.
- there will be boxes for you to tick “yes” or “no” in reply to questions relating to your medical history.
- at the penultimate field is a declaration of consent to take the vaccine. please do read all that is written there, which includes you agreeing to take the vaccine despite the possibility of side effects etc. you then have to fill in your name, IC number, circle “AGREE”, and write “AZ” as the vaccine you agreed to take.
- the last part is a signature box for you, the recipient, and for a witness. ONLY write your name, IC number and date at the recipient signature box. DO NOT sign it and DO NOT write or sign anything in the witness box – that is for the doctor to fill in.
in abundance of caution, just make sure that you do listen to and watch the video before doing anything. but if you do make a mistake, you can raise your hand and the volunteers will give you a fresh form.
there was also a TV screen in the front listing down ticket numbers. if you see that your ticket number is already called (don’t worry if they call, like, 20 numbers after your number, you can just go ahead), then proceed to the next hall.
there was another small waiting area here, as i waited to get called to two counters – a registration counter and a consultation counter.
at the registration counter, this was where i was asked to click the “Scan QR code at your vaccination appointment centre” blue link in MySejahtera to scan the QR code at the table. that was how the volunteer at the counter managed to confirm my details, i.e. my name and my phone number. she also asked for my occupation.
next was a consultation counter with (i presume) a doctor. the doctor attended to three people simultaneously, myself included, asking whether we had any history of allergic reactions to medicines etc. being classically paranoid, i mentioned that i had allergy rhinitis but was not taking medication for it. it was no issue. so to the next hall i went.
the next hall was finally, the vaccination booths. the moment i sat down, the doctor/nurse asked me to scan the vaccine QR code on MySejahtera. he also showed me the 0.5ml vaccine in the syringe – important: make sure you ask to see it if they don’t show it to you first! i then asked if i could take a selfie, which he was okay with. i’ve always hated needles, so i was actually really nervous and the doctor/nurse must’ve noticed it because he asked me to relax. but indeed it was just a sting and almost immediately, it was over.
don’t be afraid to ask questions! i already kind of knew what kind of symptoms to expect, but i was more worried about what symptoms to watch out for that warrant going to the emergency department. the doctor/nurse very helpfully said that i should go to the hospital if i have a severe headache, blurred vision and/or shortness of breath. once at the hospital, then i should report my symptoms on MySejahtera. please of course feel free to fact check this yourself for assurance. he also recommended an ice pack to place at the injection site if it turns sore.
after that was the last hall. i was given a vaccination card to fill in, and was then directed to drop off my consent forms at a counter to undergo observation for ~15 minutes. there were a lot of people seated here waiting. there was also a toilet and water cooler here so it was convenient. once the 15 minutes were up, the volunteer at the counter called my name and returned one sheet of my consent form (as opposed to the both sheets that i previously had). she then explained that the next dose would be fixed 6 to 12 weeks from today, and to check MySejahtera for an update in the future.
aaaaaaaand just like that, it was over! i exited this hall at around 12.40pm.
post-vaccination tips: once you come out of the last hall, you will see several “SAYA TELAH DIVAKSINASI” photo props. there were actually two proper long queues to take photos with these props when i came out, but a volunteer was shouting that there were more of these props downstairs. and sure enough, it was pretty empty at the ones at the ground floor. there were also more props near the exit, so you don’t actually have to queue for the props outside the last hall!
(but it was kind of cute to see strangers taking photos for each other down the queue at the queued props)
a lady was waiting around a prop downstairs and eventually asked me to help her take a photo, and she returned the favour afterwards. it was really nice to experience an environment where everyone’s main goal was to help each other out. i obviously cannot speak for everyone else’s own experience, but even from the Grab trip to WTC, up until my Grab home, everyone was just so helpful, especially when i was so blur about a lot of things. maybe it’s just been a really lonely year, but seeing everyone go the extra mile to be kind to each other, especially during these trying times, is really reassuring.
also, remember to grab a free 100 plus can on the way out. not like Malaysians need a reminder to get free gifts.
it has since been ~5 hours post-vaccination and i’ve only started to feel sleepy and my head feels a bit heavy, but i’m trying to prepare myself for the worst. receiving messages from my family and friends to the same tune certainly contributed to that. 😂 but overall, it’s no point to worry about the side effects while ignoring the main effect of the vaccine (whichever brand it is) – which is to prevent severe sickness from Covid. and that’s all that really matters. that concludes my pep talk for everyone to go and #CucukMyAZ.
lastly, i want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers and people stationed at the PPV – they were patient, polite, efficient and professional. do not worry about getting lost, and do not worry about asking questions if you have doubts about anything. like i said, everyone was there to help, and of course help each other out as well when the need arises.
and now i shall try and nap and hopefully keep this space updated with my condition for the next 48 hours or so.
UPDATE (25th June):
on Thursday night (24th June), i started feeling feverish and my head felt heavy at around 8-9pm, so i took two paracetamol pills and prepared to go to sleep – the earliest i’ve slept since last year probably. i actually turned off the AC and only left the fan on because i didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with chills, but in the end my body heated up pretty quickly so i turned the AC on again.
it was really difficult to fall asleep because my body just felt so hot. it’s been a few years since the last time i had a fever, so that feeling of falling sick was really unpleasant.
i already have pretty consistently vivid dreams every night, which were exacerbated by my fever. so when i woke up suddenly in the middle of the night at around 3.30am, i felt really tired, almost as if i hadn’t slept at all. the next thing i realised was that i was shivering. so i got up, turned off the AC and wore a thick jacket. it was still difficult to fall asleep so i made warm honey water to sip on to stop the chills. sure enough, once i started getting warmer, my body began to heat up again. can’t win at all la
so i took off my jacket and turned on the fan and watched a few videos before dozing off. nevertheless, i still woke up multiple times after that, either because i was feeling uncomfortable or i had to go to the toilet.
i only properly woke up at around 10am, because i knew i had to take paracetamol again as my fever had not subsided, but i needed to eat before i could do that. i also felt really icky, having had bouts of perspiration over the night. so i willed myself to get up (even though i felt really groggy and tired, physically and mentally), wiped myself with a handkerchief soaked in warm water, and ate some bread. i found out i couldn’t really stand up for long, because my muscles were aching so bad and i was really tired. so after quickly fixing a simple meal, i hurried back to my bed, after which i took medicine post-meal and called my parents to complain about my headache and sore joints.
i tried watching some videos after that, but eventually fell asleep. it still wasn’t a very pleasant nap, because it was hot outside (i had my windows open for ventilation) and i was sweating again from the paracetamol. but this was the gamechanger nap, because when i woke up around 12pm, my fever had broken and my body didn’t ache anymore. i still didn’t feel up for cooking so i ordered porridge to be delivered. my stomach was bloated a few times over the night and this afternoon and i did have diarrhea once, but nothing worse than that.
after lunch, i continued napping until 4.30pm and this time, when i woke up, i definitely felt more energised. energised to want to do laundry anyway, so that’s what i did. and now i’m back before my PC feeling a lot better, sans a minor headache and a sore arm. but that’s really about it.