, April 22, 2024

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Roll Up Your Sleeves, Vaccines Are Coming!

  •   2 min reads
Roll Up Your Sleeves,
Vaccines Are Coming!

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

The professional Anti-Vaxxer also promotes vaccine hesitancy, but with dogged purpose

By Jing Montealegre

As the number of Covid cases worldwide tops half a billion, countries scramble to get a hold of vaccines, the moneyed ones cornering most of the supplies and leaving countries like the Philippines, a laggard even among her peers, scrapping bottom - and caught in the usual political and bureaucratic inefficiency. The delays in the procurement, shipment and rollout of vaccines have caused the President to put the recommendation of the IATF to place the whole country under MGCQ on hold.

Meanwhile, misinformation on vaccines is so rampant on television that the number of Filipinos unsure about getting themselves vaccinated remains high. Inane discussions and comments on national TV by non-experts – bigots, ignoramuses and the merely paranoid – have regrettably inflamed vaccine hesitancy among the people.

The idiot network’s poor appreciation of what is useful information and what is merely sensational, violent or scary, and the focus and comments by ‘talking heads’ on peoples’ fear of vaccines (instead of allaying it), add to the problem. Given the unwarranted vaccine biases (not Sinovac, please) and the very limited airtime given to medical experts - virologists, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists - it’s not surprising to see the results of an OCTA Research survey showing only 19% of Filipinos willing to be vaccinated.

Does anybody still listen to science?

Many people I know, including dear ones, are prejudiced against the China-made Sinovac vaccine, donated by the Chinese government, and first to arrive in the country. They’d rather wait weeks and months for Western-branded vaccines than have themselves vaccinated with Sinovac now. This unhappy situation has been perpetrated again by irresponsible news reporting and commentary, and even by some official public pronouncements.

The Filipino’s distrust of China-made products and our love-hate relation with that country foreshadowed the poor acceptance of the Sinovac vaccine. Not that we’re ungrateful - for the Chinese have themselves to blame for this too. Many of us tend to believe that China, no matter what she says or does, is always up to no good.

Anti-Vaxxers - conspiracy theorists, proselytizers or true believers purveying their deadly misinformation to the public – also continue to undermine efforts by governments around the world to manage the pandemic. Thankfully, they’re not a force to reckon with in this country.

The Anti-Vaxxers’ aggressive play on social media, however, have forced Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to start taking down anti-vaccine rhetoric on the net. It’s about time. They (the Anti-Vaxxers) of course are entitled to their own opinion. The trouble is they want me to adopt theirs, ridiculous as it may be.

Like the media person who innocently and unwittingly promotes vaccine hesitancy, the professional Anti-Vaxxer does the same, but with dogged purpose and commitment – propagating his own kind of menace to the world.

Notwithstanding all the craziness around us, now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get a jab.

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