January 29, 2023

Despite the earnest effort of the Department of Health in disseminating that there is nothing to fear about the Covid-19 vaccine, Filipinos in general remain apprehensive. They fear that it might have adverse side effects. They are of the impression that the development of the vaccine is too hasty that it had not met the requisite number of trials to prove its efficacy and safety. And to compound their woes, the leaders who are supposed to be at the forefront of the vaccination program refuse to volunteer to be among the first to be vaccinated or publicly admit that they have already been administered with one. Instead, they are adopting a wait and see attitude. I am surprised.
The announcement by the government that vaccination will commence during the last week of February ought to be a cause for jubilation. It had been over a year since we lived abnormal lives, staying in isolation and avoiding social contact. Such condition bred a hellish existence. While we are at it, we prayed for a miracle to solve what ails our country and our people.
Our prayers are answered via the various vaccines developed by scientists to suppress the pandemic. Yet, instead of embracing the miracle with open arms, most of us remain skeptical. Why we look at the vaccine as an additional burden instead of a blessing is one that boggles my senses.
When the vaccine was first rolled out in Europe and the United States, I wasted no time contacting through social media my relatives and friends working there as nurses, doctors, and caregivers who were injected with their dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. I talked to more than 15. Their response was encouraging. All of them said that they feel fine. They were unanimous in saying that while it is too early to say whether the vaccine will be as efficient as advertised, it is safe except for minor side effects like a slight fever or allergic reaction which, according to experts, is normal due to the introduction of a form of counter-virus inside the body. They feel more confident that with the antigen circulating in their blood, they have a solid armor to parry the blow of the virus thereby allowing them to lead normal lives. By the way, none of the people I talked with died or became seriously ill due to the vaccine. They are all laughing and are as healthy as they were before they were vaccinated.
If people who were already vaccinated can afford to laugh and feel healthy, shouldn’t we share the same sentiment? Should we not embrace the medicine that can cure us rather than shun it for fear that it might have side effects? After all, most medicines have side effects. Remember, what won’t kill you will make you stronger.
The problem why the fear of being vaccinated persists is that we tend to believe too much on the bad side of things. We place too much premium and emphasis on people who allegedly died because of vaccines or people who were supposedly maimed or permanently disabled because of it. But these stories are undocumented. They are not factual. These are rumors. In legal parlance, these are all hearsay. I ask you: Have you ever personally seen or witnessed a person who died or who was disabled because of the Covid-19 vaccine? I bet your answer is no. Hearing is not the same as witnessing.
Besides, the vaccine is yet to be administered here. So, why the fear before the storm? Why put the cart before the horse? Before each of us decide whether to take the vaccine or not, the primary consideration should be safety, not only for ourselves but also for our fellowmen. Think about it. The Covid-19 s has proven that we are worse at risk by being exposed to it. We are in grave danger if we contact it. The only known solution is the vaccine. Which would you prefer? The problem or the solution?
In the end, whatever gripping fear there is in being vaccinated is far outweighed by the prevailing situation. The side effects of the vaccine, if any, pale in comparison to the main effect of the Covid-19 if ever you are infected. And so, if there is still any lingering doubt on your mind, remove it. Once the vaccine becomes available, go get it. I shall.