January 29, 2023

For those who do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19, that is their choice. But for those who want to be vaccinated, they have no choice. The government is giving no one the choice to choose what kind of vaccine will be used on him or her.
Naturally, some big shots, bigwigs, and privileged few are complaining. They assert that to deprive them of their choice on what brand of anti-Covid vaccine will be injected in them is a violation of their constitutional right.
“This is a democratic country and to refuse each and every one the freedom of choice tramples a sacred right,” they howl. Really? We should know better.
The vaccination program of the Department of Health is not a matter that requires the application of democratic principles. It is a “police power” measure. It is exercised to be able to accommodate the most number of people at the least probable risk. It is one that demands compliance with stringent procedures because it is upon this vaccination program that the safety of every Filipino depends. It is not like buying an ice cream where the buyer can select the brand and flavor. Instead, it is a medical breakthrough that requires blind obedience to what is necessary. It may not be convenient but it is the only way to attain herd immunity for the country.
That it is only right that the government denies the people their choice of vaccine. The policy of denial is based on instinct. Imagine if the freedom of choice is allowed? With the limited number of vials imported from Europe to the Philippines, there will only be a number of us who will be inoculated. There will only be so much of us who will be able to afford the vaccine. The situation will foster a “black market” where only those who have the proper connections can avail of the medicine. It will encourage illegal syndicates to thrive at the expense of the downtrodden and the desperate.
The question begging to be answered is: why should it be that the Chinese vaccine is so discredited when its counterparts from Europe and the U.S.A. have not as much received approval from our health officials for use? Why should Sinovac be discriminated when its study bears the same success as those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna? The decision to be vaccinated should come from medical experts and not from politicians or rumor-mongers.
The past week has seen an implied confession from our health officials that some of the President’s men have already been vaccinated. The report even goes further by saying at least 90,000 Chinese employees working in Philippine offshore gaming corporations have been vaccinated, as well. What was used on them are the Chinese-made vaccines. That we have not heard of any them dying of complications or suffering from abnormality is a testament to the efficacy of the Chinese brand.
The government of China promised to donate several million vials of its anti-Covid vaccine for use by Filipinos. What do you suppose will happen to these if we were allowed to choose between Chinese vaccine and American vaccine? The answer is obvious. Then, what will happen to the China brand? It will rot in warehouses awaiting for its expiry date. Sayang naman, all these because we were given freedom of choice.
When the world in general and the Philippines in particular were gripping to contend with the pandemic, every living soul was praying for the early development and release of an antidote. At that time, any anti-Covid vaccine will do. Now that the vaccine is available, we have become picky by invoking our freedom of choice.
Aw, c’mon. These remain to be desperate times and desperate times recognize no privileges. The only privilege for us is to be vaccinated. Hence, if what is available are Chinese brands, go for it. It may spell the victory or defeat of humanity in combating the Covid scourge.