447 receive AstraZeneca jab on first day of opt-in programme

James Kon

Some 447 individuals aged 60 and under received their vaccinations yesterday, through the opt-in programme for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

A breakdown on the current number of individuals joining the programme showed 291 getting vaccinated in Brunei-Muara District, 126 in Belait District, 20 in Tutong District and 10 in Temburong District.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced the opt-in programme where members of the public aged 18 and above will be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine on a voluntary basis.

Among the young recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine was Abdul Azim Rabbani bin Haji Abdul Rajak.

When asked if he had concerns about taking AstraZeneca, he replied, “I read several news reports about the blood clot disorders, but they are very rare occurrences.”

Co-founder of Star Anise Co Labibah Shafiee and her mother, Satrani binti Haji Kamis, also received their shots during the walk-in session at the Indoor Stadium.

On her reasons to get vaccinated, Labibah said, “My grandmother and my father are in the above-60 age bracket, while my uncle is a renal transplant recipient.

People registering to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. PHOTO: JAMES KON
ABOVE & BELOW: Labibah Shafiee, Satrani binti Haji Kamis and Abdul Azim Rabbani bin Haji Abdul Rajak; Colin Dickinson and spouse Anne after their vaccine shots. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

“The Brunei government, through the MoH, has done very well to help the people of this country, so I’m not afraid of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Chemistry teacher at Jerudong International School (JIS) Colin Dickinson also turned up to receive the vaccine, together with his wife, Anne.

The 59-year-old expatriate said, “I think most medicinal drugs have a slight risk. I don’t think the World Health Organization (WHO) would approve the use of the vaccine, if it weren’t safe.

“The system here is fantastic. It’s well-organised and very quick. The fact that the Brunei government is providing vaccination for free, shows how much it cares for the people and the country.”

According to the MoH, these additional slots being offered for the AstraZeneca vaccine are only available from May 6-29.

Those wishing to receive the vaccine may go to the designated vaccination centres on a walk-in basis, preferably after 10am. However, anyone who reserves a slot on the BruHealth app will be assured to have their vaccination at the reserved time and given vaccination priority.

The vaccination centres are the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas; Suri Seri Begawan Hospital in Belait District; Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital in Tutong District; and Pengiran Isteri Hajjah Mariam Hospital in Temburong District.