Last month, I finally managed to get my COVID-19 vaccination.
However, after taking all the selfies and uploading my new status on social media, I realised something. Now that I was vaccinated, what exactly could I do?
According to the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), around 65.9% of adult Malaysians have been fully vaccinated as of 3 September 2021. But how exactly does the ‘vaccinated’ status change things?
Can we finally take that beach vacation that we’ve been dreaming about? Do we have to give up our work from home lifestyles and return to the office? And most importantly, is it alright to eat out again?
To answer these and many other questions, we at The Full Frontal had to do some digging.
The Good News: Fewer Restrictions!
Last month, the (now former) Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Malaysians who had received their vaccinations would be given looser restrictions after 10 August 2021.
“I understand many are faced with pandemic fatigue. Taking into account feedback from the Health Ministry, the government is prepared to allow conveniences to those who have completed their vaccination,” he said.
He went on to explain that Malaysians would be allowed to leave their homes and do outdoor activities 14 days after their second vaccine dose (28 days for those who had received single-dose vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson or CanSino). Those who had been vaccinated would also be allowed to return to their places of worship, albeit with some rather strict guidelines to avoid another breakout.
The Bad News: “Fewer” Doesn’t Mean “No” Restrictions
Despite the PM’s statements, not everyone is feeling so optimistic.
In fact, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has warned that Malaysians should not rush to open up so quickly even after getting vaccinated. Deputy Health Director-General Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim pointed at similar examples set by other countries over the past year.
“Countries like the United Kingdom and Israel which had opened up early are now seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. We need to learn from their lessons and not remove restrictions hastily,” he said, adding that the COVID-19 variant in Malaysia had recently become much more transmissible.
“There must be strict compliance towards SOPs.”
So What Exactly Is A Vaccinated Malaysian Allowed To Do?
Getting confused at all this back-and-forth?
Don’t worry. We’re here to answer some of the most common questions asked by the newly vaccinated.
Question #1: “Do I still need to wear a face mask?”
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: technically, it should be safe for you to visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without having to worry about masks or social distancing. However, if you’re going to be out in public, it’s better to stay masked up.
This is because you are still susceptible to the COVID-19 virus even after you’ve been fully vaccinated. Although a vaccinated person won’t fall sick (or be asymptomatic), they can still spread it to those around them. Not to mention that the vaccine may not be 100% effective against any new strains of COVID-19.
In other words, stay safe and keep your masks on.
Question #2: “Do I still need to scan the MySejahtera app whenever I go out?”
Don’t delete your MySejahtera app just because you’ve been vaccinated. Being able to display your risk level and vaccination status with the swipe of a screen will definitely make your life a lot more convenient.
Recently, Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin announced new updates designed to make it easier for the ordinary rakyat to use the app.
“The @my_sejahtera team will push a new build tonight making it easier for people to display their risk level and vaccination status — this will ease living with COVID-19, together.” he tweeted. “(We) will further update and improve the app over the coming weeks.”
Question #3: “Is it safe for me to start exercising after taking the vaccine?”
You might want to take it easy for a bit.
In a letter to the New Straits Times, Senior Lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dr Goh Choon Fu advised people to take care of their health in the days leading up to and directly after receiving the vaccine.
“Mild to moderate workout and exercise are fine after vaccination as long as you are feeling well,” he wrote.
If you’re a fitness fanatic, try taking it easy for at least one week after receiving the vaccine. Focus on lighter exercises such as stretching or walking rather than activities such as swimming, cycling or weightlifting.
If you’re already suffering from side effects such as fever or fatigue, it might be better to take it easy and just avoid any physically taxing activities for a few days.
On the plus side, vaccinated rakyat can take part in outdoor recreational activities like jogging, hiking, fishing, golf, etc. As long as you stick to the SOPs, you could even go camping or picnicking!
Question #4: “Can I go on my vacation now?”
Vaccinated or not, it’s probably best to avoid overseas travel for the time being.
However, if you’re planning to travel a little closer to home, things might be a little easier… depending on your circumstances.
According to the National Recovery Plan (NCR), interstate and inter-district travel is still prohibited for states who are still in Phase 1 or Phase 2 (which is currently all the states aside from Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, Sarawak and Labuan).
However, exceptions can be made for long-distance married couples and parents who have been separated from their children (aged 18 and below). Just note that you’ll have to notify the police and submit any relevant documents such marriage certificates, proof of address, etc.
If you’re not in one of these groups, you’ll have to stay within your own district. But vaccinated people can dine-in at restaurants now, so at least we can finally stuff our faces with McD without being scolded by our mums for eating unhealthily.
Question #5: “Party time? Party time!”
No! Please, no.
Just because some restrictions are being relaxed doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly disappeared.
The last thing anyone wants is for all the old restrictions to be brought back because some idiot decided to throw a party and started a new super-spreader event. Granted, with all the new cases we’ve been having lately, it might be hard to tell the difference, but still.
If you really must hold an event of some kind, please make sure to follow all the SOPs. All the rules about smaller crowds and social distancing can be annoying to deal with, but they’re here for our safety.
Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua
Over the past year or so, it feels like our entire lives have been turned upside down. Even with the vaccines, things may never be the same again.
However, that doesn’t mean that we should give up hope.
With every person who takes the vaccine, our country grows a little bit safer. By taking the vaccine, you’re not only protecting yourself but also everyone around you. This pandemic is the trial of our generation, and it can only be overcome if each and every one of us is willing to do our part.
Ever since the start of this crisis, we have all learned and grown in new, unexpected ways. The lessons we’ve learned haven’t been easy, but they have certainly made a difference.
If you want to learn more about how COVID-19 has changed our lives, check out: