When perfect is the enemy of the good

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto P. Maceda Jr. (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2021 - 12:00am

We knew early that our vaccine rollout would be late but knowing that we are last has made the tardiness a difficult pill to swallow. As we deal with news of our vaccine isolation, the IATF is busy working out the byzantine logistical complexities of distribution. The DOH has announced the planned implementation of a 24/7 vaccination program in health centers to get as many Filipinos inoculated, depending on supply.

Speaking of supply, the first batch of 600,000 Sinovac vaccines will touch down tomorrow. The Astrazeneca doses ordered from COVAX should also be arriving in a matter of weeks. Once they land, we begin the arduous task of getting jab to arm. Gen. Galvez has assured a 2- to 3-day window for this from arrival. Sec. Roque says we can start the process Monday.

As we wait, the grousing from the bleachers would be put to better use supporting the preparatory efforts at vaccine distribution. Around the world, either because of incremental supply, vaccine hesitation, inadequacy of government resources or simply the poor execution of even the best laid plans, the rollout was not as efficient, effective or economical when it started. Let’s not even talk about equitable or ethical.

Even if imperfect. Eligibility hierarchies are necessary based on scientifically calibrated priorities. But even in richer countries that have gone ahead, missteps dogged the process.  We’ve read the cautionary tales of doses spoiling or venues staying empty. The sequential priority order is only viable if people show up. And this is a real danger for us. OCTA’s latest survey attests that only 19 percent are willing to get vaccinated. 46 percent will not and 35 percent are undecided. At the Pulse survey in January, a higher 32 percent said Yes; 47 percent No and only 21 percent remained undecided.

Let’s watch and learn. To do it as prioritized is an ideal. Getting as many vaccinated as possible is an imperative. This is precisely why our government is talking about a 24/7 program. We can’t afford to press pause with the virus knocking at the door.

If guidelines allow substitution when not enough show up, it will not be unethical line jumping to give the chance to the next available priority group. This is actually a safeguard against the nightmare scenario of a free for all.

Our national leaders like Senator Bong Go have kept up the pressure on mounting the necessary information and education campaign. The rise in vaccine hesitancy as shown by the latest survey results is indicative of that urgency. He called on government officials to volunteer. Secretaries Galvez, Duque, Lorenzana and Roque are among the first to be publicly inoculated to heighten trust in vaccine safety.

Tiger. The driver’s seat is Tiger Woods’ home court. He is one of the best, if not the greatest, golfer ever, to lead  a tournament going into the final round and go on to win. Woods has a 55-4 win/loss record when sharing the lead after 3 rounds and 44-2 when holding it outright. In major tournaments, it’s an incredible 14-1 when he is ahead going into Sunday. That conversion rate is mythical! He has been called the greatest closer in the history of his sport.

The driver’s seat off the course has not been as “forgiving” to the man. Though his 2009 car crash and the scandal it triggered is now a footnote, it is still an image tough to erase. This week, Tiger survived a near fatal car crash where he found himself, again, in the driver’s seat.

Bear. In his entire professional career, the Tiger has chased a Bear. Jack Nicklaus, the “Golden Bear,” was the greatest of all time before Tiger Woods. To many, this writer included, Tiger has long overtaken the Bear. For Woods, however, it’s still Nicklaus. Tiger has more tournament wins: 82, the most in history, to the 73 of Jack. Given the quality and quantity of the field he faces down weekly compared to Nicklaus’ pool of challengers in his time, this statistic is unbelievable. He holds the record in every key category and is so far ahead of the field – e.g. scoring average, earnings, consecutive cuts. Several of the records he broke were Jack’s records.

But Jack’s elusive 18 major championships continues to gnaw at Woods. This was the bulls eye he pinned to the wall growing up. Until he beats that record, he will not accept his ascendancy. In the end, the eagle and birdie spewing Tiger will himself be the albatross around his neck.

Hawk. The crash broke Tiger’s right lower leg in two places. He just narrowly averted amputation. With this latest adversity, he is now chasing another apex predator, the “Hawk.” That’s Ben Hogan. What Jack is to Tiger, Ben was to Jack. To aficionados, Ben Hogan with his “perfect” swing, his ball striking and his steely resolve was the greatest until Jack came along.

Ben Hogan also suffered what was supposed to be career ending injuries after his car collided with a truck. Pelvic double fracture, fractured collarbone, broken ankle, chipped rib. Doctors said he was never going to play competitive golf again. But he was back on the course in a year and, the next season, he promptly won the US Open. A favorite movie from my youth was “Follow the Sun,” starring Glenn Ford and Anne Baxter, a biopic on Hogan’s life centering on his triumphant return from tragedy.

This is actually the hope if not the expectation of Tiger Woods, ultimately. His dramatic 2019 Masters win (his 15th major) was celebrated for its improbability. This from a man of whom magic was regularly expected and whose capacity for recovery is equally legendary (5 back surgeries including spinal fusion). He knows the burdens that come with the glory. For now, we are relieved that he has conquered this latest “major” test. We wish that he continues to stay healthy for his family and his believers around the world.

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