Vaccine protects us from severe disease, say COVID-19 survivors


KUALA TERENGGANU – The COVID-19 vaccine does indeed act as a ‘fortress’, protecting the body even if the vaccinated individual is later exposed to or ‘attacked’ by the deadly virus.

This is what two individuals who survived COVID-19 infection said, having not experienced any symptoms when they were infected by the virus after being vaccinated.

Nur Fazlizai Ali, 34, a media practitioner, was infected by the virus about three weeks after completing the Sinovac vaccine shots.

“I received the first dose of the vaccine on April 1 and the second dose on April 22. It was a bit of a shock at first when I was confirmed positive on May 12. I was informed that the infection involved contacts that I met while on duty.

“I did ask the doctor several times just to reconfirm it. In the end, the answer remained the same, and I had to be placed at the COVID-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC),” she said when contacted by Bernama here recently.

She recalled that it was a really difficult experience for her, as she boarded a van from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to be taken to the PKRC at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Chendering branch on the eve of Aidilfitri, and there was takbir raya echoing on the radio.

“I was really sad and scared. I couldn’t describe my feelings at that time, but I still prayed that the vaccine I had received before would be able to get me to survive this, and help to get rid of the virus as soon as possible.

“What I was worried about most then was the infection involving other people. Out of 30 close contacts, two of them were infected. Thankfully, they didn’t have severe symptoms,” she said.

When asked if she had any doubts or regrets as she was still infected despite having been vaccinated, she said: “Of course not; if compared with other patients who have not received the vaccine, I am actually a very lucky person”.

She said that at the PKRC many patients suffered from severe cough, fever and loss of sense of smell, but as she was asymptomatic she could do various other activities including writing news.

Sharing similar sentiments with Nur Fazlizai on the importance of the vaccine is Zaid Salim, 50, who tested positive for COVID-19 a few days after receiving the first vaccine shot. He also said that he did not experience any symptoms.

Zaid, who is a stringer with a newspaper company, received the vaccine shot on May 11; tested positive for COVID-19 three days later and was admitted to the PKRC at UiTM Chendering branch.

“I was told that I was infected while doing coverage just like Nur Fazlizai, and did not know that some of those present were positive.

“However, the vaccine shot that I received not only helped me not to have any health problems but also out of 40 of my close contacts, no one tested positive, including family members,” said Zaid, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

He said that as he tested positive for COVID-19, the second dose, which was supposed to be administered on June 14 had to be postponed, and he had to wait for six months from the date he tested positive.

Recounting their experiences of having to celebrate Aidilfitri at the PKRC, Nur Fazlizai and Zaid said that it was only a tiny issue compared with the difficulties faced by frontliners who have to face hundreds of patients every day.

They also said that individuals who have been selected to receive the vaccine should not miss the opportunity to get vaccinated, as it not only protects themselves but also others.