Vaccines have a purpose, let's use them

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - February 24, 2021 - 12:00am

When the coronavirus first reared its ugly head and people all over the world were getting sick or dying faster than we can count to 10, our knees nearly bled in prayer for divine mercy or some man-made intervention, whichever came first. Obviously I cannot speak for God, but I am fully aware that there are now at least 10 vaccines developed with astonishing speed.

The vaccines are at varying stages of development and clinical trials and come with varying degrees of efficacy. They are, however, good enough to roll out under the circumstances. Otherwise, none of the vaccine makers seeking to cash in on such a huge and ready market would risk profit and honor if the rollout would only result in a health disaster.

What vaccine is there, and whoever may be its maker, the calculations must have already been made, and the determination arrived at, that no human life is being willfully and unnecessarily being put in jeopardy. In other words, the expert analysis is that the vaccines are essentially safe should be as good as they can get.

That there will always be human reservations that no amount of expert assurance can surmount or assuage is but natural. What is unnatural and, therefore, defies logic, is when purely health and scientific matters are being assayed and tested in the unqualified laboratories of politics and human vengefulness.

For example, no vaccine is being vilified, rejected, and suspected more than the Chinese-made Sinovac. And it is not because it is made IN China but because it is made BY China, the enemy of our country, the poachers of our fish, the grabber of our islands, the new friend of Duterte. If you do not get sick with COVID, you will be driven nuts by such an argument.

It does not come as a surprise, though, that the loudest and must scurrilous detractors of the Philippine vaccine rollout, especially where it involves Sinovac, are the political enemies of Duterte, aided in no small measure by elements in media who do not know any better. To these people, it does not matter that the vaccine rollout gets compromised for as long as they can criticize and otherwise do political harm to the enemy, foreign or domestic.

These detractors do not see the reality obtaining in our unforgiving circumstances --that the vaccines, any vaccines, are the best that anyone can hope to happen in a pandemic involving a disease that has no cure. Any vaccine, regardless of the maker, the stage of clinical trial, or the degree of efficacy, is always better than having no vaccine at all.

For a vaccine is meant to help, to make life better by making threats to it manageable. No vaccine is ever worse than the disease it seeks to confront, unless of course there is a sinister plot to wipe out humanity from the face of the earth. But we have to descend to hell first before man reaches such level of depravity as to create a weapon of mass destruction disguised as a medicinal tool.

We have all, or at least most of us have been vaccinated at various stages in our lives with nary an adverse effect other than the inconvenience of our own unfounded fears. In a situation where we are in the grip of something that has no cure, a vaccine is still the best medicine. Better that, with its limitations, than nothing at all. It is not the (Chinese) vaccine that is bad but the politics that makes no distinction between saving life and political gain.

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