Get vaccinated…properly

(The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2021 - 12:00am

I have been told that outside of the Metro Manila area and major cities nationwide, vaccine hesitancy is still strong. I don’t know how accurate this observation is, but add to that the difficulty of bringing vaccines which have to be kept at certain temperatures to far-flung areas, and getting health workers there to do the vaccination, the goal of vaccinating 70 million – or even just 35 million, according to one group – Filipinos by yearend to reach herd immunity is a very tall order indeed.

Here in the metro, vaccine hesitancy does not seem to be a major problem. Based on messages and posts on social media, people are rushing to get the jab. In the viber group of residents of my city, most of the messages in the last three weeks were all about vaccines and how to get them. Online registration is available, and you get a text advising time and place for vaccination, plus some tips (bring your own ballpen and don’t be late). Those of us in my household who have been vaccinated (all seniors) had a very easy time of it, with everything very organized and the staff on hand very courteous and patient.

There are just as many stories of those who managed to get a jab without appointments and, worse, those who managed to jump the queue by giving false information – faking residency, faking comorbidities (asthma and hypertension seem to be the “illnesses” of choice)… Some of them even boast about succeeding in making lusot!

Yes, getting vaccinated is a good thing; it protects not only you but those around you. But please, let’s follow the rules and do this properly. There is a priority list for a very good reason: Those who need it most should get the vaccine first, and top of the list are health workers. Many sectors are calling on the government to move them up the priority list: lawyers, economic frontliners,transport and tourism workers… Yes, they are all vital to our nation’s life, but unless and until we get sufficient supply of vaccines, the priority list has to be followed.

One solution is to let the private sector get their own vaccines. The business groups can take care of their workers, and that’s a big number of people that the government won’t have to worry about. Don’t make it hard for them, and everyone can be the winner here. – VB Bernales, San Juan City

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