Mandatory vaccine day in Da Nang, Vietnam
Before we get to into this let me throw out that you are NOT obligated to get the vaccine, but you are required to turn up at the location when they tell you to in order to be put onto a list. I am not going to divulge which choice I made but if you do not attend, they will come to you and trust me when I say that you do NOT want this to happen to you.
There is an option on the form that you must turn in that shows you are electing to not get vaccinated if that is the choice you are making.
This is not a post about whether or not I think vaccines are a good idea. I have no desire to join that debate although I do have my own opinions about that. I am merely showing how impressed I was with the organization put into this process considering that Vietnam is a relatively poor country and has very limited resources.
We turned up at a pre-determined time according to our "summons" and were immediately ushered to a series of queues that the staff were plentiful and helpful, as well as friendly. This is a big shock to me after living in Thailand for over 15 years where anyone with any authority uses it as an opportunity to be as mean to you as possible.
You move from one station to the next and there are plenty of staff on board to make sure that you don't break rank. First they made sure you paperwork matched who you are and then they scanned a QR code so they can do a database of some sort. Then you moved to a section where they checked your blood pressure. One of my friends actually had to go sit down and eventually go to a "lie down area" for his blood pressure to drop. Mine was 130 / 80 which according to a friend of mine is good. I don't know about these sorts of things.
Then there was a questionnaire about various allergies and symptoms that the answer will be "no" for basically everyone and I couldn't hear my representative with his mask and face-shield on so i leaned in. They didn't like this and (in a nice way) asked me to back up and they would just talk louder. haha
Then you go get the jab or don't get the jab depending on if you want it or not. There was at least one person in my crew of 8 people that opted out and we'll have to wait and see what happens to them.
not my hand, a friend took this pic
They allow you to inspect the vial and video the process if you want to. This, once again, is in stark contrast to Thailand where any time an official can yell at you for taking pictures they will do so. I don't know what it is about authority figures in Thailand - as well as other countries including the one I come from - but the police and anyone else with a little bit of power will use it as often as possible. It almost seems like everyone in Thailand uses every opportunity to be a bully if they have the authority to do so.
After getting jabbed (or not) you go and wait in a theater for your name to get called out and you get some sort of certificate. This was a bit of a frustrating situation because the people on the microphone didn't have the best English skills and people were getting frustrated.
I don't want to be too judgmental because they were already going above and beyond the call of duty in my mind, but it would have been a really good idea if they had hired a native English speaker for the day to do this for them. It was extremely difficult to determine what the person on the mic was saying and mostly we had to wait for passport numbers to be announced before we could understand what was being said, even if it was your own name.
Eventually everyone got sorted out and you were ushered out "exit, stage left" and then you are on your way back home.
The entire process took about an hour and a half and I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the organization and efficiency of the entire process. The fact that all of this was done for everyone for free.
On they way out we were told that we are not to shower for 8 hours and to definitely not drink alcohol for 24 hours.... so what do you think we did? Most of us immediately went up to the roof and started drinking beer.
That's just how we roll... you're not the boss of me buddy.
As always, Nadi was absolutely thrilled that I was home and she almost got up to greet me when I opened the door. It's ok, she was just exhausted from a busy morning of sitting in various places.
So it is all behind us, at least for now. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the repercussions are for the people in my crew that opted out of getting it... which may or may not include me.