I am Gen X, when is my turn for vaccination?

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon - The Freeman

Gen X are those born within the years 1965 to 1980 and are currently between 41-56 years old. We are at the cusp of our younger years as we move toward the peak of our most productive period. Our knees are still springy, and our grit softened by the wisdom of our experience. In other words, there is so much we can do to boost our sagging economy amid this prolonged pandemic.

And I bet you most of us are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 anytime if allowed to do so. Yet, why are we being made to feel that we must wait for an indefinite period of time until the top three priority groups get their jabs?

I understand that we must prioritize giving COVID-19 vaccines to our medical frontliners (A1) and the elderly (A2). The elderly and those with comorbidities (A3) are most vulnerable to severe and fatal COVID-19. Seniors are also susceptible to mental health problems when confined for longer periods in isolation.

But then you hear that there are a few takers in some vaccination centers for the A2 and A3 groups. In that case, Gen X and other younger economic frontliners should now be allowed to register for vaccination. If the vaccine rollout is still limited by supply and logistics constraints, government can at least allow us to put our names on the waiting list.

Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. announced last week that the country has secured 202 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various pharmaceutical companies and the COVAX facility. This month, the Philippines will get a total of seven million doses, with another 10 million doses in June.

With those relatively large number of doses, it is not farfetched to predict that the level of vaccine hesitancy will manifest in the lesser-than-expected number of registrants from the top three priority groups. Indeed, news came out last week that those in the A4 priority group (economic frontliners) may now register for a vaccine. But only a few local governments have online registration systems, most of them in Metro Manila.

In Cebu, only Cebu City, as far as I know, has an online registration site that may accommodate those belonging to the A4 priority sector, although it does not mean that as an A4 registrant they will immediately get one ahead of those in A1 to A3. But at least that gives Cebu City registrants hope that they may be accommodated when slots are available.

Vaccination is imperative. This has been shown in the experience of Israel and the United States. COVID-19 cases there have dropped to levels that now allow many of their citizens to resume normal activities.

Even Taiwan, the gold standard in COVID-19 response, is now scrambling for vaccines. The island country of 23 million people still has one of the lowest total infection numbers at 2,017 since the pandemic began, with only 12 deaths.

Having spent some time there in 2019, that didn’t surprise me at all. Taiwan is a vibrant, egalitarian democracy where citizens and politicians look out for the welfare of the entire community, not just their individual selves or their own social class. My friends there tell me about how they are still able to live and work normally outside of their homes, with stringent and comprehensive contact tracing and testing.

But due to the shortage of vaccines, Taiwan is now threatened by a rising number of COVID-19 cases, in clusters mostly involving airline workers and expats arriving from abroad.

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