Local government units have been given the green light to vaccinate the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
We’re talking about nine million senior citizens, or those who are 60 years old and above, and 14.5 million persons with comorbidities.
That should be reason enough to heave a sigh of relief.
And although we’re still a long way from beating this health crisis, it’s a step in the right direction. Finally, after a year of floundering in the dark, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Assuming, of course, that the vaccines needed to inoculate all those people, and we’re talking about 23.5 million, are already at hand. And if they are, that the target recipients are willing to be injected.
As we have seen when the government began its vaccine rollout with medical frontliners, around half, or maybe even less than that, had said “no, thank you” to the chance of protecting themselves against getting really sick if they do contract the disease.
Because that’s what the vaccine does. It’s not a guarantee they won’t get infected with Covid-19, but it sure gives those who get it a good fighting chance of survival.
Unless they don’t consider the situation to be so dire. After all, Covid-19 was not the number one cause of death in the country last year. Heck, it wasn’t even number two, or number three, or even number four.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the pandemic that caused the Philippine economy to shrink 9.5 percent in 2020 as a result of government restrictions to prevent its spread was the seventh, yes, seventh leading cause of death after heart disease, neoplasms/cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, pneumonia and hypertensive disease.
So don’t be surprised if a lot of our elderly would not opt to get the shot. I mean, can you blame them?
If people in the medical profession don’t seem too keen on getting vaccinated, how do you think the rest of the population will feel?
Dr. John Wong, resident epidemiologist for the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, said the elderly are five times more likely to develop severe Covid-19 and 10 times more likely to die.
He also said Covid-19 heightens the risk of severe disease and death for those with comorbidities.
If that won’t change their minds, then maybe we need high-profile individuals to convince the general public that getting vaccinated is safe and that it is the only way if we want to dig ourselves out of this hole.
So I don’t see any harm in letting public officials or celebrities “jump the line,” assuming they haven’t done so already.
Let them show the country that there is nothing wrong with getting vaccinated.