July 16, 2024

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., the designated vaccine czar, foresees that the anti-Covid-19 vaccines purchased by the government from different multi-national pharmaceutical companies will be delivered to the Philippines and ready for use by May 2021 the earliest and June 2021 the latest.
He declared the number of doses to be delivered will be more than enough to inoculate the required 60 percent of our population in order to gain herd immunity against the virus.
Great news. The best New Year’s gift the Duterte administration can offer to the Filipinos.
With this information on hand, we should be lining up and scampering into being listed as among the first who must be injected. We should be demanding the vaccine czar to include us as among those who would take the first salvo of the anti-Covid shots. But no. Surprisingly, there is reluctance, nay, even resistance from some segments of our society.
According to the plan, the first to be vaccinated will be the frontliners then, the poor, then the marginalized. All else follow after them, if there are still enough supplies left. However, the frontliners, the poor, and the marginalized would rather see the politicians take the first stab at the vaccine. Only if it works on them will they gain the confidence to take their turn. As the joke goes, “The initial dose should be administered on our senators and congressmen. If it works, good for them. If it does not work, good for the country.” Ha ha ha.
Sen. Tito Sotto does not think it’s funny, though. He thinks it is discriminatory. Some senators and congressmen share his sentiment. They do not want to be the first in line because they feel they do not deserve to be treated as lab rats. They ought to be inoculated only if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the vaccine truly cures. Bad example.
Unlike in other countries where their leaders and legislators stood brave against the side-effects of the vaccine, in our country, our leaders and legislators continue to dilly-dally and pettifog by avoiding being in the forefront. In the guise of being generous and magnanimous to their constituents, they wait until nobody dies because of the vaccine. They are simply playing it safe.
Perhaps, we are a country that has lost confidence in vaccines. The memory of the discredited dengvaxia is too raw in us that the trauma it brought to our collective consciousness is enough not to trust another vaccine, even if this time, what is being presented is more for survival than for necessity. It was an eerie scenario to have witnessed our people being killed and maimed by a vaccine. What if it recurs? What if the variant that will be offered to us is of poorer quality? This is not remote considering the short time frame within which the anti-Covid vaccines were developed. This is not to mention that in the priority of individuals, we are a third world country. So, who cares whether we live or die?
But wait. The manufacturers have given a more than 90 percent efficacy for their products. They assured all and sundry that the kind of vaccine that was sold to first world countries will exactly be the same as what should be delivered here.
Galvez echoed the same caveat. That is why it will take a little longer to obtain the antigens because it has to be screened and pass through quality control. So, there you go. There is nothing to fear at all.
We have seen on live television prime ministers, presidents, and prominent citizens of first world countries being injected with anti-Covid shots.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson had his. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden had his. Celebrities like Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, and others had theirs. They had no doubts or qualms or premonitions. They were upright. They were positive about the efficacy of the vaccine and in fact, encouraged everyone to take their turn. That’s confidence.
They are no different from us. Shouldn’t we, therefore, take the lead and line up to take our own shots? Shouldn’t we maintain a positive attitude about this? It is the only way to finally solve the Covid riddle.