Son spent over a month convincing bed-bound mum to get Covid-19 jab

Speedoc's Dr Fiona Ng (centre) chatting with Madam Ang Kim Kee (right) and her domestic helper Lae Lae Win, during Madam Ang's observation period after getting vaccinated, on Aug 16, 2021.
Speedoc's Dr Fiona Ng (centre) chatting with Madam Ang Kim Kee (right) and her domestic helper Lae Lae Win, during Madam Ang's observation period after getting vaccinated, on Aug 16, 2021.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - It took Mr Soh Thiam Huat more than a month to convince his bed-bound mother to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

His 83-year-old mother Ang Kim Kee had fractured her hip bone after a fall last year. She was initially reluctant to take the vaccine, fearing severe side effects.

"There were many reports of adverse effects, and my brothers told my mum other information that was not so positive," said Mr Soh, 55.

The lecturer added: "But I looked at it holistically, based on the science and facts. We have car accidents every day. If so, are we not going to take any transportation? So, you have to judge properly."

To reassure his mother and set an example, Mr Soh took the vaccine and convinced his younger brother to do the same.

Mr Soh ended up with a sore arm and slight tiredness that lasted less than a day. "So my mum slowly started to accept that the vaccines should be okay."

He said it took him more than a month to convince his mother as "sometimes, for old folks, the impressions they have are very solid and not easy to change".

When he learnt about the home vaccination service early last month, he called the Silver Generation Office's hotline to register and eventually schedule an appointment for his mother.

On Aug 16, Ms Ang received her first dose from a home vaccination team from Speedoc, a home care provider.

As she has high blood pressure and is on blood thinners for a heart condition, she asked the team's doctor if the vaccine would interfere with any of her daily medications.

Dr Fiona Ng said: "We try to allay (the patients') fears. We do look through their medications and health records before we go to their homes."

Although Ms Ang had to remain in bed, she made sure that her home was welcoming for the vaccination team. She told her son and domestic helper to have packet drinks ready at home.

Speedoc's assistant nurse manager Nurul Amirah Junaidi joked: "Singaporeans are gracious hosts. At about 90 per cent of the houses we visit, they will offer us drinks."

Last October, Mr Mohamed Ali Jais' father-in-law suffered a stroke and the left side of his body became impaired. Mr Jalal Tawil, 90, is unable to speak and is fed through a tube. It takes a lot of effort to lift him onto a wheelchair, said Mr Ali, 49.

Hence, in April, when the logistics company manager received a text message from the Home Nursing Foundation about an upcoming home vaccination drive, he immediately signed his father-in-law up.

Mr Jalal lives with Mr Ali and his family in Woodlands. A nurse from the foundation regularly visits to change Mr Jalal's feeding tube.

Mr Ali wanted Mr Jalal to get vaccinated because his father-in-law has nine children in Singapore, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who visit him frequently.


Senior staff nurse Ibrahim Abdul Rahman giving Mr Jalal Tawil his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at his flat, on Aug 11, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

"Our relatives who come to visit may be vaccinated, but what if they unknowingly carry the virus?

"If he is not vaccinated, then there will be a major issue with his condition. He also can't speak. We wouldn't know what is wrong with him."

Mr Ali and his wife did not know that Mr Jalal's left arm hurt after his first shot, until they turned him on his side and he groaned.

Mr Ali added that he would feel at ease receiving visitors two to three weeks after Mr Jalal's second jab, which was on Aug 11.