Covid: Prospective haj pilgrims feel more confident, safer after vaccination


JOHOR BAHRU – Prospective Malaysian pilgrims selected to perform the Haj this year have expressed their gratitude after receiving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine jab, saying they feel more confident and safer to make the spiritual journey and fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam.

A clerk at a private company, Mohamad Ardani Senawi, 58, said he and his wife, who arrived as early as 7 am for the vaccination, were very relieved after receiving the first dose and hoped to perform the Haj smoothly.

“My wife and I were very worried about the virus but, at the same time, we really wanted to perform the Haj. Now, we feel more confident and safer as the vaccine shots help increase immunity against the virus.

“So far, there are no side effects from the jab as has gone viral on social media and the WhatsApp application,” he told reporters at the vaccination centre at the Taman Adda Height Hall here today.

Another prospective pilgrim, housewife Rukiah Tukimon, 58, said the community, especially pilgrims, needed to get rid of their fear of getting vaccinated as it’s one of the measures to fight the pandemic as well as to maintain their health and safety.

“I am thankful to have been one of the selected pilgrims as I have been waiting for this opportunity since last year and I really hope to go there. Now that I’ve been vaccinated, I feel relieved and very thankful because not everyone gets to be vaccinated early. I realise many more are still waiting for their turn.

“Honestly, there is no fear because I have been ready since last year. I always pray to be the first to receive this vaccine. As Muslims, we do not have to fear and leave it to Allah,” she said.

Meanwhile, Salbiah Mustapha, 51, said the fear and anxiety of getting the vaccine jab disappeared after receiving the first dose, adding that she would encourage her friends to do the same, especially to those who will be performing the Haj.

About 600 selected prospective pilgrims in Johor are expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine jabs from today.

On May 3, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri was reported to have said that Malaysian pilgrims selected to perform the Haj this year would be given the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines as recognised by the government of Saudi Arabia.