WE HAVE THIS IMAGE of Juan Tamad lying under the guava tree- hoping the fruit will fall into his mouth during the whole day. This is the image of the lazy, indolent Filipino who wants to eat and prosper but will not make any effort to achieve his goals.
A community will never prosper if people think about “me, myself and I” only and don’t care about others. It would seem like a shock to foreigners that in the beginning 70% of Boholanos were aversed to the vaccine- knowing fully well they had lost jobs and livelihood, some facing starvation in the face of billions of losses- and that only a vaccine can short-circuit the Covid-19 virus.
Maybe our leaders were not communicating enough- not with a passion somehow saying that there are no two ways out of the pandemic- that only a 70% vaccinated populace will stop the virus and bring back our economic and physical well-being. Maybe it is the aftermath of the Dengvaxia vaccine tragedy that segments of the populace still think of fear about vaccination.
Maybe, it is cultural. When kids misbehaved then, they were threatened by the elders na “pa injectionan ta ka sa doktor”, corrupting the subconscious perhaps that anything that comes out of the physician’s syringe is painful and bad.
Of course, the anti-vaccination is slowly simmering down, thank goodness.
As of yesterday-50,582 got their first dose and 21,846 fully vaccinated through Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik. But we are too far from scoring the winning basket- as we need 900,000 Boholanos to be fully jabbed to get herd immunity. It is consistent, though, with the national experience – that only 2%of the 70% have been inoculated, so far.
What can still be done?
First, positive testimonies are a gem, especially from respected people. Let us cite one example.
The animated public admission of Boholano head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Romulo Valles (who has existing health issues) of having been successfully vaccinated (without side effects) is a case in point. He also warned against fake news about the dangers of vaccination. Pictures of our local leaders doing the same spur the same confidence as well.
We, on the other hand, belong to the senior class with some slight co-morbidity and was operated on the spine three years ago. After two Sinovac doses, however, except for a slight headache that disappeared with a mere Biogesic, all went well. Now with a “fully vaccinated ID”, we can travel more. enter hospitals without many restrictions and go about business more resolutely.
Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez is a frank and forthright man and we believe him when he says that 140 million vaccines have already been contracted and assigned funding with- we just have to wait in line. He expects the economy to light up like Christmas trees in December. But, hey, let’s play our part and get vaccinated first.
We have seen the almost immediate impact that speedy vaccination in Manila did on the economy in a matter of days. EDSA traffic was going back to its “crazy normal” tightness, people were beginning to buy “non-essentials like garments and shoes” and grocery carts are fuller now than before. There is a smile and a bit of lilt in the way people walk these days in Manila.
That will happen in Bohol as it is happening in many states in America as President Joe Biden targets to vaccinate 70% of adult Americans (at least first dose) by July 4th, significantly their Emancipation Day- and for good reasons. All the 50 states have a “Reopening Plan” which they update and publish every week for the world to see and enjoy the New Normal.
Aside from the government, the private sector is also key in the vaccine rejuvenation drive for it to succeed tremendosuly. We cite the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) for having bonded its members to procure the supply of the vaccines for their constituents. Under the “Chambe Vac” airthon of the local business group recently over station dyRD, the first initial 2,000 doses are coming this week.
Likewise, we applaud the initiative of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat and the fulfillment of such a promise to allocate primarily 10,000 vaccines for the tourism frontliners creating an image of healthy, fully-jabbed tourism front actors. Daily, some 150 of them are vaccinated at the Bellevue Hotel in Panglao. We look forward to bringing back the estimated 200,000 tourism workers displaced by this pandemic. One day at a time.
We applaud the Alturas Group of Companies whose more than 1,000 employees sport teeshirts emblazoned with the slogan ” Get Vaccinated. The Way to End Covid-10.” More than that, it fielded its own refrigerated Isuzu Forward van to ferry the delicate Pfizer vaccines to the Tagbilaran City-owned refrigeration unit near the City Health Office.
A sad note, however, would be the seeming continuing reluctance of some senior citizens to get their vaccines, leaving the medics to look for substitutes as this is a race against time. According to the IATF, we should be inoculating at least 500,000 a day after three months to hit our December herd immunity target. Please do not make the job much harder than it already is with non-cooperation.
There is very little to fear. Take for instance our neighboring Hongkong where out of the administered 3 million fully vaccinated to date only 100 or about 3% showed signs of side effects that are not even lethal like an allergic reaction and Bell’s Palsy. The HK government even paid close to a million pesos to three with side effects.
The Philippines does not have that financial clout yet-but we may be going in that direction. Already, we heard that Swab tests will now be covered under Philhealth; perhaps reimbursement for treatment of side effects may not be far behind since they are so few.
In the extremely rare blood clotting after vaccination incidents, the danger is so much significantly lower than the potential hospitalization expenses and deaths that come from Covid-19 as a result of non-vaccination.
If we really care about our community, let us assign ourselves a self-imposed task to each of us convince at least one non-believer in the vaccine to your way of thinking so we can hasten the achievement of herd immunity.
Remember that we cannot prosper again in isolation. What goes around, comes around.
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