It’s been more than a month since we launched the GoVax free shuttle service to support senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs), and it has been truly a challenging yet rewarding experience. We started out thinking about how we can contribute further to the community, especially in supporting the vaccination efforts while making good use of GoCar vehicles. And we thought, what better way than to shuttle those with transportation challenges for their vaccination appointments.
As chance would have it, we caught Kg Tunku ADUN YB Lim Yi Wei’s interview on BFM. She was highlighting the challenges with the vaccination efforts, in particular those affecting the underrepresented senior citizen and PWDs who may have difficulties getting to and from their vaccination appointments.
That’s when we decided to reach out to YB Lim and after about a month of planning and discussions, we launched the free shuttle service under the GoVax programme on Monday, 31 May 2021. Shortly after the announcement of the GoVax programme, FMCO was announced to start on 1 June 2021.
The week started and we hit the ground running, with a packed schedule on Monday comprising back-to-back appointments mainly at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre. We were fortunate to have the support of our CEO, Wong Hoe Mun, who took a few of the appointments himself and YB Lim who was onsite to greet the seniors at the Sunway Convention Centre.
The next few days got a little more stressful. With the full lockdown, our team was a little worried about being able to move freely to shuttle seniors for their appointments without being stopped. Thankfully, GoCar had YB Lim’s support and with her assistance, we were able to continue our community efforts.
More than a week in now and there have been logistically tweaks that the team has had to make to ensure a smoother process. There have been appointments that we have had to turn away, due to the coverage areas and limited number of slots. This is to ensure the drivers are operating efficiently and safely, with little to no wait time by the seniors who have completed their vaccination appointments. This is certainly not ideal, but we are trying to deliver the best possible experience for all the appointments we touch.
Meet our GoVax Heroes
Our team consists of volunteers who give their time and passion towards being part of the programme. Indeed, they are the heroes in the GoVax programme. Here are some of their experiences thus far:
Hoe Mun: I wasn’t sure about the response initially, but during my conversations with some of the passengers, I realised that there are indeed many seniors who are underserved. The reported cases of patients not showing up for appointments in the news now made sense – they simply did not have transportation to the vaccination centres. With our limited resources, our impact may not be significant against national statistics, but I’m proud to be able to serve where we can. I am also proud of our team who has been enthusiastically supporting this project, on top of their on-going projects.
Sai: I’m thankful for being able to help the elderly and persons in need. Traveling to the vaccination centre can be an easy task for most of us, but not for many seniors. This may be one of the most impactful thing we ever do as it directly translates to helping save lives. It’s definitely satisfying for us knowing that we’re contributing towards putting an end to this pandemic.
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Volunteer to be a GoVax Hero
We are looking for volunteers for the GoVax programme. Interested to know more? Check out our blog on signing up.