February 1, 2023

OK, now that the initial batch of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines was delivered last Sunday, what’s next? According to our vaccine czar, the next batch of 575,000 doses from the Covax grant of the World Health Organization will arrive next week.
The initial delivery of 600,000 doses will only be enough to vaccinate 3,000 Filipinos, which is far below the expected range of expected range of 70 percent to achieve herd immunity. Nevertheless, it is a good start. If the next batch will arrive as promised, the vaccination program of the government will truly be on its way. The problem is, all these vaccines are China-made and we are reluctant to have ourselves inoculated with it. At any rate, I do not think that with the limited number of vaccines, any of us will be in line so soon to be jabbed by it. First in line are the soldiers and medical frontliners. Will they take it?
The Department of Health has outlined a procedure on how the vaccination of the population will proceed. They have been training hospitals and other medical facilities to roll out the vaccine. For the past weeks, doctors and nurses were ordered to simulate the situation where people will be vaccinated with special care on what to do in the event there is a complication. I guess those in charge are ready. Yet, the question that continues to pester us is: Will there be enough vaccines to cover all of us? And will the desired vaccines made by western medical corporations be available soon so that, at least, we can have options?
There is no certainty when the vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson will arrive on our shores. But it was assured by Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America Babe Romualdez in his column that these vaccines will arrive “as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.” As to when, nobody knows. The DOH, in turn, says will be within the year.
For the meantime, we have to contend with what is available. If it is Sinovac or Sinopharm, then what the heck, let’s go for it. Instead about debating about its efficacy, let the first batch of enlisted beneficiaries line up and have themselves be injected in full view so that those who continue to doubt will be pacified. Let President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez be the first. It is the only way to convince the skeptics into wanting to have themselves inoculated. Thereafter, I am sure that everybody will be convinced.
We have no choice. If we dilly-dally, we are only exposing not only ourselves but also our fellowmen, to further danger. Hence, instead of shunning those made in China, let us embrace it and take it for what it is – the only available medicine at this time to end the pandemic in the Philippines.