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History in the Visayas

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - March 7, 2021 - 12:00am

I was one of the privileged few who witnessed history in the making - the first individual to be vaccinated against COVID-19 here. It was Dr. Gerardo Aquino of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center who took the first shot in hopes that his colleagues and workers will follow suit. The hospital has been going through tough times trying to convince its health workers to avail of the free vaccine just because it’s a Chinese brand.

I'm no expert in pharmaceuticals or vaccines, and I always want to give the manufacturers the benefit of the doubt. Just because a vaccine comes from China doesn't mean that it isn’t worth a shot. I saw the interviews of the spokesmen of the company behind Sinovac. Despite numerous trials and highly-publicized failures, they still put it out on the market as donations to countries in need; the Philippines being one. There are also doses of AstraZeneca that arrived. In a chance interview with the palace's spokesman, he said he is definite that Cebu and Central Visayas will get its share of this vaccine, but he isn’t sure how many.

But the real experts have spoken that the best vaccine is the one within reach. I honestly felt jealous of the health workers who got their vaccine shots last Thursday. Although I completely understand there is a list of groups to be prioritized for this program, I feel the sudden urge to also get vaccinated. I guess it comes with the eager desperation to not have adverse effects in case I become infected with the virus. We all want a healthy and normal life; my aspirations aren’t that far from yours.

Then again, we have to give it first to those in the frontline who need it the most now. Although the situation in Cebu to its COVID response isn't as bad as it was last year, they still need to be protected first. That is why I don't understand why there are still apprehensions from several health workers who were given the go signal to be part of the vaccination program. Yes, it’s true they are free to choose whatever vaccine brand they want, but it means they have to wait. If I were them, I'd rather not.

We are more than a hundred million in this country and I feel like I'm just a tiny speck. If a vaccine vial was before my eyes and I am qualified to get it, I'd grab it in a heartbeat. Like I said, I want my life back the way it was. It may take a while for all of us to get our own doses but I'm just thankful that some of it is already here. Baby steps they say, just little baby steps.

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