Wheelchair-bound woman turned away at vaccination centre

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Wheelchair-bound woman turned away at vaccination centre. A wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy patient, who had been waiting for months to be vaccinated, was turned away when she finally went to the vaccination centre – because she had another appointment a week later.

It was another of those mix-ups that have been the bane of many in the country but the woman and her younger sister chose to play it cool instead of kicking up a storm – although no one would have blamed them even if they did.

Imelda Isabelle Michael, 46, was turned away from the vaccination centre in the federal administrative headquarters in Likas here on July 19 after it was found that she had two appointments.

Imelda had applied for vaccination through the MySejahtera app months ago but the appointment never came.

She sought help from a local group that works with persons with disabilities, hoping that it would speed up her appointment. She filled in a form which the group submitted, and managed to get an earlier date.

Although it was not any of their doing, Imelda and her younger sister, Lindsay, who accompanied her to the centre, took the whole episode in their stride.

“We didn’t want to make a scene as there were many people waiting for their turn at the centre,” Lindsay told FMT.

“Plus, we respect our frontliners and we don’t want to make it any harder than it already is for them.”

Imelda Isabelle Michael is glad her sister Lindsay was around to comfort her.

Imelda believes the July 19 appointment, sent through a text message by the Kota Kinabalu Covid-19 immunisation task force (CITF), was a result of the group’s help.

However, she received another notification on her MySejahtera later, for her to get her shot at the Penampang Cultural Centre on July 25.

She called the hotline number provided in the CITF text message but no one picked up. So, she decided to go for her appointment on the earlier date on July 19.

Her joy was short-lived. “They (the health staff) told us they cannot proceed with my vaccination because I already have an appointment for July 25,” Imelda said.

“They said if they went ahead with it, they will have problems issuing the digital vaccination certificate, so I will have to be vaccinated on the later date.

“But I cannot understand why they could not give me the shot as I was already there. One of the nurses told me to wait a bit longer but I told her I have been waiting for months.”

Imelda said that although she felt distressed, she was thankful that Lindsay, a lawyer, was around to comfort her.

Lindsay shared their experience on social media and the sisters have since won praise from netizens for their patience and not letting emotions get the better of them.

She also said Imelda had been afraid to leave their house during the past few months because of the widespread infections but finally agreed to go for vaccination, only to be disappointed in the end.

“What if there are people from the outskirts or further away who come to the centre and are turned away? That would have been very inconvenient,” she said.

She said the vaccination centres should also be more flexible to people on a case-by-case basis, especially to those with her sister’s condition.

Wheelchair-bound woman turned away at vaccination centre


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