Sept. 26th Update: according to a staff member, there is a possibility that walk-ins will continue until the end of October. Dewan Sivik apparently has a quota of 3,000 pax per day, so it is very likely that the mornings will be especially busy.
I love dining out and this blog is all about eating at restaurants and enjoying non-essential activities, so getting the Covid-19 vaccination was kind of a pressing matter for me.
However, the Malaysian government sees my priority level differently. Like many other foreigners in Malaysia, I’ve been stuck at “Eligible for Vaccine?” on the MySejahtera app since signing up for the vaccine back in March. This was made even more frustrating as Mark got an appointment. If I didn’t get my first dose soon, he’d be eating at our favourite restaurant while I stood outside asking via WhatsApp how the fried chicken sandwich tastes.
Everyone heard about the walk-in vaccinations at Bukit Jalil Stadium that was mostly targeted to expats, but that ended on August 22nd after a three-week stint. No information was given on where foreigners were supposed to go if they missed that window or simply did not want Sinovac. I received sketchy information that the Dewan Sivik MBPJ (Petaling Jaya Civic Centre) was doing walk-ins, and after going to try it myself, I can confirm that this is true.
Location: Dewan Sivik MBPJ, No. 1, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Pjs 7, 46675 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Hours: 9am – 8pm
Vaccine: Pfizer (Comirnaty)
Duration: Approx. 1.5 hour
What to Bring: Passport, a smartphone with MySejahtera and Facebook apps, pen
I arrived by Grab at the back of the building, which is the designated e-hailing stop. If you also plan to take a Grab, input “Dewan Sivik” and choose the option under “Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ).” The location will automatically change to “PPV – Dewan Sivik MBPJ” when confirming the pickup. The ride took about 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. There were no roadblocks between here and Mont Kiara.
There is also a free shuttle bus to get to this vaccination centre easily. Most of them start at nearby LRT stations in Petaling Jaya.
After informing the military guard that I was a walk-in, he directed me to the first of many white tents. Under this small tent, the volunteers will ask which dose you need. They will also pull up the self-assessment on the MySejahtera app which you need to re-do at this point, as well as refresh your profile. When this is done, they will give you a number tag. Don’t freak out if the number seems high. Mine was 645 but there were not 644 people ahead of me. Someone who joined after me had the number 613, so the distribution of these seem to be random. You will now proceed to the next white tent.
This is a much larger waiting area with a line of chairs stretching far back. This is not a queue, so sit anywhere you’d like. The tent only covers the first few rows of seats, so if it’s really busy, you’ll be baking under the sun. Here, you’ll strangely be asked to pull up Facebook on your phone. Click search and in the upper right corner of the app is a QR code scanner that I never noticed before (the volunteer will navigate all of this for you if you’re really tech challenged). You then scan the QR code that the volunteer shows you, which will bring up a form where you fill in personal details like your phone number and passport number. The final question on this form asks for your status (elderly, pregnant, student). The options do not apply to most normal people, so leave it blank. Once you have finished filling it out, you do not have to wait. Show the volunteer, and you can progress to the next tent.
Make sure you’re in the “first dose” section. You will promptly be given two forms when you sit down under this next bigger tent. This is where that pen that you hopefully brought will come in handy because I didn’t see any loaners. The sections you need to fill out will be highlighted. I realised this too late, but the reverse side has the entire form in English if you don’t understand Bahasa. The two forms are identical, but make sure you fill out both! You will not move on to the next stage until you’ve done so. Queue patiently and wait until the military personnel checks your forms and passport. If you’ve done everything correctly, your number tag will be taken from you and may move on inside the building.
After a temperature check, pay attention to the volunteer in PPE if there’s one nearby. They should direct you to sit where there is the least amount of people. When the person ahead of you moves up a row, so should you. Once you sit down to meet with the medical personnel, they will ask for your MySejahtera app, passport and some personal info so they can update your status on the app. It was here that I was told for the first time that I would be getting the Pfizer vaccine. Once you are done here, go to the Dewan Auditorium on the left.
Located in the theatre hall, there was no wait here for me. To start, the nurse behind the table again confirmed that it would be the Pfizer vaccine being given today. She asked questions like my age, symptoms, and whether I had any close contact with Covid-19. Once done, exit the theatre and walk across the lobby to get to the actual vaccine injection area.
There is a washroom in an alcove to the right of the lobby desk if you need one at this point. Toilet paper is on a roll next to the entrance, not in the stalls. Walk further in and down the stairs to get to more stalls, which are a mix of regular sitters and squatters.
The volunteer will seat you in front of the booth with the shortest queue. The booths are not private but shared by two people getting the vaccine. Get your passport and MySejahtera app ready before you enter.
The station is arranged so that your left side is presented to the nurse by default. You should get your jab in your non-dominant arm, so if you’re a lefty, sit differently so she injects into your right arm. The nurse needs your phone so she can scan the QR code that marks you as having gotten your first dose.
For the third time, I got confirmation that it is indeed the Pfizer vaccine. The nurse clearly showed me the vial which had the virtually unknown proper name of the vaccine, Comirnaty. She also made a point to show me that she was giving me a 0.3 mL dose of the drug before injecting me, doing her best to distract me with conversation before jabbing. The actual injection was very quick and I can see how it’s almost painless for most. It’s not awful even if you’re hugely afraid of needles.
Afterwards, the nurse described the potential side effects (fatigue, sore arm, slight fever) that were common and no cause for concern. However, if I was experiencing more serious side effects while in the next station (nausea, difficulty breathing), I had to inform someone before leaving.
In the final station, I sat with a volunteer who talked mostly about my second dose appointment. It was here that I got a physical vaccine card where I filled in my name and passport number (let the volunteer fill in the date). On it was all sorts of useful information, including side effects and what to do about them on the back. You must bring this vaccine card to your second appointment, so do not lose it!
After this, I moved on to the final waiting area. As was mentioned previously by a couple of the nurses, you are to sit and wait for 15 minutes to see if you have any adverse effects to the vaccine. Though there are helpers behind a table here, this is a very casual station and self-managed. Check the time when you sit down, and if after 15 minutes you feel fine, you can just leave. No need to inform the volunteers or anything, and no need to sign out once you’re outside – you’re completely done! After about a day, your MySejahtera app will be updated with the date and time of your second appointment, so make sure to confirm that when you see it.
I realised long after I had left that my vaccination was free! No one made any mention of future payment after my second dose either. It was a nice surprise to see that the vaccination is completely free, even for foreigners.
Second Dose Update
This is not confirmed, but I’ve heard from only one source that walk-ins at Dewan Sivik MBPJ will cease at the end of September. As mentioned in the update, a staff on-site said they might be continuing walk-ins until next month, but he seemed unsure. This is probably dependent on whether the government allows it and they can secure enough vaccines. It’s a good idea to get here as soon as you can.
Since there are so many people doing walk-in appointments at Dewan Sivik nowadays (wishful thinking, but perhaps due to this informative blog post?), expect many more crowds than what you see in the above pictures. When I went for my second dose on Sunday Sept 26, the parking lot was staggeringly full of people queuing up in front of multiple white tents that were not there the first time. Other waiting areas had also been adjusted to fit more chairs.
Not that I blame them, but the staff working at the vaccination centre during my second dose were not nearly as friendly as the first time I went. The military staff outside were barking directions and getting impatient at people who did not fill out their forms correctly. The nurse who jabbed me only said about five words in total, and I had to take the initiative to ask how much the dose was and how long I was to wait in the next area. I’m not sure if it was because it was my second dose or they wanted me to GTFO, but I only had to wait 5 minutes at Station 5 before I could leave. Everyone had the air of wanting to get you in and out as fast as possible. Understandable considering the crowds, so just make sure you don’t hold up the queue or bungle your forms, otherwise you might get some attitude.
Other Possible Locations
It seems like walk-ins are being held at 13 different locations across Klang Valley if Dewan Sivik is too inconvenient for you. Other news sources are poorly worded and make it sound like these are just for Malaysians. However, Dewan Sivik is on the list, so these other locations might be open to expats as well. Of course, I can only vouch for Dewan Sivik MBPJ from personal experience.
1. HCO F, G and H of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC)
2. A, B of Axiata Arena Bukit Jalil
3. HCO B of Ideal Convention Centre (IDCC)
4. Bangi Avenue Convention Centre
5. Hotel Wyndham Acmar Klang
6. Dewan Sivik MBPJ, Petaling Jaya
7. Stadium Tertutup Kuala Selangor
8. Dewan Seri Bernam, Sabak Bernam
9. Dewan Kompleks Sukan Majlis Perbandaran Kuala Langat
10. Le Pavilion Gamuda Garden, Gombak
11. Bukit Beruntung Golf Resort
12. Galaxy Mall Ampang
13. Universiti Multimedia, Cyberjaya.