Last Wednesday (May 5), around 2,400 Malaysians lined up to get their first shot of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as part of a voluntary and first-come, first-serve optional programme that runs parallel with the country’s National Immunisation Programme (PICK).
Starting from just before 9am when the doors are opened, those on Twitter started sharing their experiences using the hashtag #CucukMYAZ, right down to details such as where to park their cars, how to fill up the consent forms, their jubilance and pride after receiving their jabs, and afterwards how they felt following the jab.
The hashtag, ostensibly consisting of “cucuk”, which is Malay for “poke” or “prick” — a euphemism for getting injected — MY for Malaysia, and AZ for the vaccine, immediately went trending and reached the top spot right around noon with nearly 4,000 tweets.
This was almost double the actual number of vaccine recipients that day, and the hashtag #AstraZeneca itself that day was at nearly 10,000 tweets.
Among the earliest adopters of the hashtag was author Hanna Alkaf, known for her novels The Weight of Our Sky and The Girl and the Ghost, detailing step-by-step what she and her husband went through at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur vaccination centre.
“I know that there are a lot of people who get anxious about new experiences, and specifically about the vaccine, and being able to prepare yourself is a great way to combat anxiety,” Hanna, 36, told BBNU when asked why she live-tweeted her appointment.
“The second, I figured it might help with vaccine hesitancy.”
With her use of #CucukMYAZ, Hanna had simultaneously provided valuable information for those yet to attend their sessions, but also perhaps positively drummed up the so-called "fear of missing out" or FOMO among those who have yet or are still hesitant in taking their shots.
Can perhaps such a campaign help in driving up the dismal registration of Covid-19 vaccines among Malaysians?
We will discuss this more after the jump, for subscribers only. 👇