I’ve been jabbed

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2021 - 12:00am

Thank you to Mayor Vico Sotto, Barangay Barrio Kapitolyo and the health workers at The Medical City for finally injecting my wife and me with the Sinovac vaccine last Monday. The process took approximately two months to push through and the only “odd” and somewhat annoying part was the multiple repetitive process of filling up the medical information sheet. I had to fill, file or discuss my medical history with someone a total of five times. Once on the phone, once at the barangay multi-purpose gym, once online, then in person at the Medical City atrium and with nurse Joy who would administer the vaccine. Otherwise the whole process was relatively quick and painless. We arrived at 7:15 and were vaccinated by 9:45 am.

I thank the Lord because he answered our prayers for the smooth process held in a familiar surrounding managed by professionals of The Medical City because I learned from my friend and colleague Boo Chanco that he got his shot at “the Pasig Mega Parking and ventilation was scary to say the least.” Others have shared that walking up some of the stairs was not a pleasant experience either, especially for senior citizens or PWDs.

Now we will just have to continue praying that the needed supplies will be available in 28 days so we can get our second dose in order to be fully vaccinated. I really don’t know how LGUs arrive at determining where to conduct the vaccination drives but the successful models I have seen so far are those done inside villages conducted with the assistance of homeowners associations, and those done in “open” or spacious areas such as gyms or big atriums like The Medical City. It also makes a difference if the vaccinations are done early morning or late afternoons when it is not as hot as mid-morning or early afternoon.

When I heard that President Rodrigo Duterte also had his vaccination done on the same day I almost wanted to blurt out on national TV that he was now my batch mate, much like those fraternity brothers or PMA graduates that refer to their “Ka-batch” as MISTAHs. Unfortunately, the only thing we have in common as far as the vaccination is concerned was the date. He opted to get what people suspect was left over or stored Sinopharm vaccine from the batch used by the PSG last year.

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While undergoing the process for vaccination, it occurred to me that the national government, DOH and IATF should do everything possible in order to get all senior citizens vaccinated, especially those 65 years old and above. The DOH has always stated that the reason they insist on detaining the 65 and above is because they are the most vulnerable members of the population. If that is the case, then they should be getting the anti-COVID-19 jabs before anyone else, especially since they have been detained the longest at one year and two months! With so many different sectors pushing for priority, they seem to forget that the point to giving vaccines is to protect those who are most vulnerable or at greatest risk of death.

Atty. Romy Macalintal, who has been an advocate for the rights of senior citizens, has recently pushed for the lifting of quarantine restrictions for senior citizens who have already had the first dose of the COVID vaccine. The suggestion makes perfect sense because senior citizens are well aware of the risks, would probably be the most cautious and conscious in terms of health protocols and with the shortest life expectancy among the different age groups in society. We should not be spending years indoors or in detention that could lead to faster deterioration of our health and mental well-being. Unfortunately, Warden “Kiko” wants to keep all of us under house arrest allegedly to protect us.

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Still on vaccinations, the Lord is truly doing something new and something better. In spite of the tragedies that have been taking place globally especially in India, we are seeing signs of hope, evidence of change and the beginnings of “normalization.” The United States has started to allow gatherings with masks off for vaccinated families, while in many places in Europe where vaccination has taken off, lockdowns have started to ease and chances are more face-to-face events such as school will be taking place. Much of the activities are centered on one important point – people being vaccinated.

Experts and opinion leaders have started to sing a different tune wherein they believe that vaccination will be mandatory in the future instead of optional. Airline executives are still feeling their way around the matter but at least one major airline is talking about staging a flight where all passengers are already vaccinated for COVID. The point, I think, is to show that vaccination is necessary and the future of air travel will be dependent on this.

While local labor officials balk at the idea of mandatory vaccination for workers, Hong Kong has already required foreign domestic workers to be vaccinated prior to employment. Secretary Bello’s only concern is that the vaccination should be for free c/o the Hong Kong government.

I suspect that the only reason the labor department is not putting its stamp of approval on the mandatory vaccination requirement for employees is because the Philippines does not have the needed vaccines and has a very low score for percentage of citizens vaccinated. It is certainly inappropriate and awkward for the Duterte administration to support mandatory vaccination before employment when his government has been incapable of meeting the bare minimum number of vaccines to protect health workers and front liners!

That is what PRRD should be addressing and not swearing and cursing regarding the West Philippine Sea, which he has practically stated as a “lost cause.”

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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