Not everything is bleak in connection with the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. There are silver linings. Prominent among the consoling factors is the very high rate of recoveries among those who have been tested positive of the dreaded disease in the Bicol region.
Realistically, the deaths attributable exclusively to Covid-19 are almost negligible in terms of ratio and proportion. The figure has ballooned because among those who died were suffering from pre existing illnesses, like cancer, diabetes, heart ailment, kidney disease, etc.
In plain, with or without the coronavirus, it was just a matter of time and they could have died without medical intervention. But death is always a cause for grief, under any circumstance.
Amid this situation, news about the impending release of a vaccine against the coronavirus is now widespread. Among these vaccines come from the United Kingdom, European countries, United States of America, Japan, Australia and China.
It is where the complication due to competition arises. All forms of strategy, politics included, fair and foul, will surely be employed in order to for the manufacturers to corner a large share of the market. That is why maximum safeguards need to be harnessed.
Otherwise the citizenry will be exposed to grave risk, especially if entry of a vaccine is tainted with political consideration due to a done deal.
Not long ago, “Dengvaxia,” an anti-dengue vaccine, caused a stir because of doubtful efficacy. A number of individuals reportedly died notwithstanding having availed already of the vaccine. The French made preventive medicine (manufactured by Sanofi) caused panic due to its alleged questionable efficacy as an anti-dengue vaccine. The controversy has gradually died down.
However not a few hesitated to submit themselves to subsequent vaccinations against polio, pneumonia, influenza and malaria. That situation almost exists now also.
In a few months from now an anti covid 19 vaccine will already be in the market. Against this backdrop is the pronouncement by President Dutertte that a China-made vaccine worth about 20 billion pesos will surely be supplied to the Philippines courtesy of his bosom friend—the President of one of the world’s super powers--China.
Mr.Duterte says military,police and medical frontliners will be prioritized. And then the poorest of the poor and others belonging to the lower and middle class shall follow suit.
What happens however if they refuse or hesitate to be inoculated due to fear, trauma or deep-seated disdain against Chinese products, mostly having acquired some items from made in china which are either of inferior quality or worse imitations.
Freedom of choice should not be denied the people. Others will claim that we have no choice because of our poverty and that beggars cannot be choosers. Should we readily accept that we are all beggars. That is like picturing all Filipinos as “ Pasaway”
Avail of international bodies to ensure that the vaccine to be used is safe, based on universal standards.