Drug rehabilitation centre inmates, staff vaccinated


KUALA NERUS – They live in isolation, with limited access to the outside world, and they are being constantly watched.

However, such limitations were not used as excuses for the 84 former addicts at the Pondok Remaja Inabah drug rehabilitation centre, who are undergoing treatment, from getting vaccinated.

The principal of the centre, Shah Amirudin Mohd Usman, said that the inmates understand the importance of the vaccination, and as Malaysians, they understand the need to break the COVID-19 transmission chain.

“We have registered all 84 on the MySejahtera application using the same telephone number. However, it is quite difficult for us to ferry all of them to the nearest vaccination centre (PPV) because we don’t have the means.

“Apart from that, we are also worried they could become flight risks if we let them out without strict supervision as some of them are still quite ‘mischievous’.

“Fortunately, the integrated PPV at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) understands our limitations and they have offered to administer the vaccine at the centre for the sake of all,” he said when met by reporters here.

The rehabilitation centre is privately owned, and is located at Kampung Sungai Ikan here. It has been in operation since 1989 and is recognised by many, following its excellent record in treating addicts.

Some of the inmates met by reporters said that they agreed to be vaccinated since it was the best defence against the COVID-19 pandemic apart from adhering to the standard operating procedures set by the government.

An inmate, who only wanted to be known as Zack, said the digital vaccination certificate is not a ticket for them to enjoy freedom like other people since they also have to follow the rules set by the rehabilitation centre.

“We are not allowed to eat at stalls, travelling or embark on interdistrict and interstate travel. But that is not our aim, what is important is that we take care of our health,’ said Zack, who has been at the rehabilitation centre for the past seven months.

Another recipient is Muhammad Afzan Mohamed, 41, who has been receiving treatment at the centre since 2012 and is now absorbed as an administrative staff member.  With his task to provide assistance to other inmates, he said that the COVID-19 vaccine would be beneficial to all inmates when they deal with people outside.

“For example, once we are allowed to leave the centre we will definitely need to find a job with new employers, and surely being vaccinated would be one of the terms for employment. That is why I always urge the inmates to agree to get vaccinated, for their own sake.

“This is our small effort towards achieving herd immunity, thus ensuring the country becomes free from the COVID-19 threat as quickly as possible,” he added.