March 23, 2023

Russia has announced it has developed a vaccine against the Covid-19.
Dubbed as Sputnik V, it is the very first that is produced to combat the worldwide pandemic. No less than Russia President Vladimir Putin has vouched for the efficacy and safety of Sputnik V. He claims that his daughter was administered with the drug with wonderful results.
With Sputnik V ready for mass production, the world in general and the Philippines in particular ought to be rejoicing.
But wait. Except for the Russians and the communists, there appears to be no enthusiasm from any other group of people. There is an obvious reluctance about the acceptability of the vaccine. Why so?
Maybe because the name does not connote a positive vibration. Think about it. In the Philippines, “sputnik” had always been associated with a gang. It is the name of one of the most notorious and despicable gangs in the country. Hence, for a drug to be named after the gang or the other way around, it is a pill that is too bitter to swallow.
As far as other countries are concerned, sputnik is the space program of the defunct U.S.S.R. during the cold war. It was during those years that the stigma of communism was instilled in every democratic state. Anything associated with it, including sputnik, is treacherous. This political propaganda has stuck and to this day, Russia and the word sputnik will always be associated with the dangers of communism.
Of course, the days of the Cold War are over, as they say. But the mutual distrust between democracy’s patron, U.S.A., and communism’s precursor, Russia, persists. Thus, for those countries that side with the U.S.A., they will, in conscience, disavow anything produced in Russia and vice versa. Things that affect the survival of nations are dictated by political agenda and not by necessity. This is the reason why Sputnik V will probably not see its distribution and inoculation in our shores.
The Department of Health, through its spokesperson, expressed animosity against the administration of the Sputnik V among Filipinos. Kesyo there are ethnic considerations to determine, kesyo the price may be exorbitant, kesyo the third stage is yet to be tested, etc. A thousand excuses to reject the drug but not a single reason to try it.
The trauma is not only confined here. Other countries, as well, are adamant not to try the antigen among its citizens. Their leaders assert that the development of Sputnik V is the product of a hasty research. That its production was intended to preempt all other potential drugs and catapult Russia as the first country to come out with an anti-Covid-19 vaccine. That’s a lot of bull if you ask me.
The production of an anti-Covid-19 drug is of utmost importance. It is not a popularity contest or a race that gives a gold medal to the first one who comes out of it. It is not about who can have the bragging rights. On the contrary, it is about survival. It is about ensuring the continued existence of humanity. Whether Russians, Americans, Filipinos or any other ethnic people, the production of a medicine to suppress Covid-19 should be looked upon by all with favor. But no, those who have vested interests are destroying the confidence of the people, saying that in time, their own drug will be the only one that can cure Covid-19.
The World Health Organization is correct in its assessment that instead of competing against each other, those who have the means to develop a vaccine should cooperate with each other. In that way, the cure everyone is anticipating will be expedited. In that way, no one among the contending parties will say they are the first among equals.
Time is of the essence. Let’s do with what is already here. If Sputnik V is as good as advertised, let us give it a try.