The UK rolls out a vaccine

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - December 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Margaret Keenan, 91, from the UK became the very first person to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. The vaccine given to her was from Pfizer/BioNTech which claims to have a 95% effectiveness against the virus. The UK started to roll out the vaccine after it was approved by British regulators. The first to receive the vaccine are "people over 80 who are either hospitalized or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers and vaccination staff". Those vaccinated will have to return in three weeks to receive the second dose, providing even greater protection.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is being considered by the government as one of the vaccines to be given to Filipinos. But the storage requirements of the vaccine said to be at -70 Celsius is hindering the acquisition as the country does not have the facilities for such cold storage. Pfizer has offered to provide the storage facilities but logistics may well be difficult especially with countries surely lining up to acquire the vaccine. But if we do acquire the Pfizer vaccine, are we going to see a repeat of those in power cutting to the front of the line to receive the vaccine just as they did when the first of the COVID-19 swab tests became available? I don't doubt that for a second.

But just as soon as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was administered to chosen recipients, two people who work for the National Health Service had allergic reactions. This prompted the UK to issue a new guidance "warning those with a history of significant allergic reactions against having the inoculation."

The world badly needs a vaccine against COVID-19, prompting all these companies to work at a breakneck pace in developing one. My thoughts are, if the vaccine from a company like Pfizer/BioNTech already shows allergic reactions, what kind of adverse reactions are the other vaccines with yet unpublished efficacy data going to show? I may be on the fence with regards to receiving a vaccine for now even if I know I need one. One needs to be prudent in determining which vaccine is safe and effective which I hope the government is likewise doing. Weigh all the factors and choose the best vaccine for the country. I don't know how much the Pfizer vaccine will cost but the government should be able to subsidize it with its billions set aside for a vaccine. A program similar to what Indonesia plans to do where some get it for free and others pay for it should be studied. Herd immunity only works if those with the highest chances of infection are inoculated first.

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