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Opinion

My first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon - The Freeman

I received my first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine recently after I finally got in touch with my pulmonologist. He knew about my medical history, having been the doctor who treated me six years ago at a hospital.

I initially planned to be vaccinated much later under the B3 category for other essential workers. But then my pulmonologist advised me to get a jab as soon as possible. He promptly issued a medical certificate so that I can be accommodated under the A3 category for persons with comorbidities.

I felt a general sense of relief after getting the jab. For the first time in over a year, I could imagine the things I could do together with family and friends outside my bubble. It’s not yet an end to masking and physical distancing, but I could now interact with people for a longer time beyond the usual brief encounters of handing over packaged food and other items to friends and family from different households.

I was impressed by how seamless the process of vaccination was when I turned up for my first dose. After getting my jab, I didn’t feel anything unusual except that my eyes felt heavy. About 15 to 24 hours after getting my shot, I experienced chills, headaches, joint pain, and fatigue, a good sign doctors say that my immune system is doing its work. I just took paracetamol and rested the whole day. By the next day, those symptoms disappeared and I was back on my feet.

As soon as you have the chance, I urge you to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Trust the science behind the vaccines and don’t let anti-vaxxers who disagree with the use of vaccines based on falsehoods keep you from doing what is good for the entire community.

There are risks in everything we do, but to give you some perspective, doctors say you have a much higher chance of getting run over by a car on the road than developing a serious adverse reaction to any COVID-19 vaccine.

* * *

The lab-leak theory on the origins of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is gaining traction. I had not expected this considering China’s vaunted influence and propaganda machinery across global institutions and the social media multiverse.

The theory states that the origin of the virus can be traced to a laboratory leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It could be that the virus came from the wild and was a subject of research in the laboratory but had accidentally leaked outside or had infected medical staff coming in and out of the facility.

US President Joseph Biden on Wednesday ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, including the possibility that the virus was accidentally leaked from a lab. As expected, this move angered China as more nations have not ruled out the lab-leak theory and have called for further investigation.

Before the issue can be muddled further by pro-China trolls and propagandists, the pressing issue is not about whether or not the virus that first broke out in Wuhan originated from a laboratory leak in that city. Let us be clear that the matter remains a theory and is still being investigated.

The glaring issue is China’s lack of transparency in the face of a full scientific investigation on the origins of the virus. The 124-page report of the joint inquiry done by the World Health Organization (WHO) and China, released over a month ago, was described as containing “a glut of new detail but no profound new insights.” It was a result of China’s resistance to independent scrutiny on matters that might put a dent in its image.

The more important issue is how China not only quickly ruled out the possibility that the virus came from a lab leak, but also gaslighted the issue being discussed, with state media reports claiming that the virus might have originated somewhere else outside Chinese soil.

Will China ever allow full access to WHO investigators to all areas that will help the latter determine the origin of the virus? China has no credibility in ruling out the lab-leak theory if it is seen as an obstructionist in the investigation.

China accuses the West of politicizing the issue when the latter brings up the lab-leak theory. It sounds like an old record that plays whenever people ask for accountability.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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