Getting vaxxed: A choice of life or death

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Even with 200 million people in the United States inoculated against COVID-19, the virus continues to wreak havoc on the population of 325.9 million.

The number of people infected with the deadly virus is filling up hospitals during this Christmas season.

Cases have spiked in New England, one of the most vaccinated areas.

New cases in the US have gone upward from an average of 95,000 a day on Nov. 22 to almost 119,000 a day in just the past week.

The number of patients hospitalized has increased to 25 percent over a month ago, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Why is there a spike in cases in the highly-vaccinated population of New England?

The answer is there are people who are still unvaccinated, or refuse to be inoculated. These people are the ones in hospitals in New England.

“The virus will find you. It is searching for hosts that are not immune. The fact that you live in New England or New York doesn’t insulate you,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University.

New York, one of the states that is heavily vaccinated, used to have the biggest number of COVID fatalities.

What does the above-cited AP report mean to the Philippines?

It means that Filipinos who are unvaccinated or refuse to be vaccinated are more likely to be afflicted with the deadly ailment.

The mother of one of our household staff died in Dumaguete City recently, despite the fact Tocilizumab vials were sent to the hospital where she was confined.

Tocilizumab, which is in short supply, is one of the most effective medicines for critical COVID patients.

It saved the life of my wife, Josephine, who was badly hit with the deadly virus.

Tocilizumab also saved the lives of some prominent people. I won’t identify them, to respect their privacy.

But while Josephine was fully vaccinated, the mother of our house help refused to be inoculated.

Getting the vaccine early spelled the difference between Josephine, who has prior medical conditions, and the mother of my household help, who was relatively strong and healthy because she always worked in their small farm.

So, I offer again this friendly but unsolicited advice: Please have yourself vaccinated ASAP.

*      *      *

No less than President Digong Duterte is urging all Filipinos to be vaccinated.

Digong said the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” campaign’s first phase brought the country to its goal of population protection against COVID.

The President agrees restaurant and mall management teams have the right not to accept unvaccinated individuals within their premises.

More than eight million people were inoculated in the first round of the mass vaccination campaign from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

Organizers of the second phase of the mass vaccination campaign expect to inoculate seven million people.

*      *      *

If Health Secretary Francisco Duque is to be believed, 99 million Filipinos will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June 2022.

“The President’s marching order is to inoculate no less than 90 percent of the Philippine population, which is equivalent to about 99 million Filipinos,” said Duque.
That’s big talk from our health secretary, who clings to his position like barnacles to a ship.

Vaccine supplies for COVID-19 come in trickles from abroad.

How can the government vaccinate “90 percent” of the entire population when vaccines are in short supply?

The US, for example, has so far been able to vaccinate 200 million Americans out of a population of 329.5 million. That’s 60 percent of the US population.

The US, needless to say, is one of the countries manufacturing anti-COVID vaccines; and yet, it has not reached herd immunity, or 70 percent, of its population.

Duque probably is trying to flatter the President who has offered his position to a Catholic priest; but the man of the cloth refused.

*      *      *

Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian and Representatives Victor Yap of Tarlac and Manny Lopez of Manila should be commended by the public for sponsoring a bill requiring all SIM card holders to be registered.

The bill proposing the SIM Card Registration Act has passed the House of Representatives.

All SIM card holders who scam or threaten other cellphone owners or use the SIM card to detonate remote-controlled bombs would be identified under the proposed law.

The identities of SIM card buyers will be registered by stores which sell SIM cards, and that info will be given to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Question: How do we know the SIM card buyers will give their true identities or names to the sellers?

Methinks the best way to solve the problem is to compel the buyer to present his government ID card.

*      *      *

The Philippine Navy recently retired two of its World War II-era warships, BRP Magat Salamat and BRP Miguel Malvar, during rites held in Sangley Point, Cavite.

Both ships were used by our Navy for 44 years and 10 months.

The United States Navy commissioned the two ships 77 years ago, transferred them to the defunct Republic of South Vietnam, and from there they were handed down to the Philippine Navy.

The Philippines was given hand-me-down ships that were earlier given to another country; so pathetic!

Beggars, that’s how the US treats us, their long-time allies who stood with them in the Second World War.

In hindsight, can you blame President Digong for pivoting to China, which he thought (apparently wrongly) would treat us as their equal?

*      *      *

Isumbong mo kay Tulfo, a tribune in broadcast media, made its swan song Saturday, Dec. 11, on PTV-4.

“Isumbong,” which has been fighting for those who have been oppressed by abusive people in the government and private sectors, started in 1991.

We’re looking for a new home.

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