Cabaero: I have a choice

·3 min read

A medical certificate prior to vaccination against Covid-19 is not a requirement, but to have your doctor’s clearance can give you peace of mind and hasten the process at the vaccination center.

Just before I had my first dose of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, I went to my doctor for a checkup and to ask if I may be cleared for inoculation. I received a certification stating my health conditions, comorbidities, and that I had Covid-19 and was hospitalized in July last year. It also said I did not receive convalescent plasma, it listed my allergies, and ended with “patient may undergo Covid-19 vaccination.” No mention in the paper of what vaccine to take.

My doctor said during consultation that I shouldn’t get AstraZeneca because of its reported side effect, a blood-clotting disorder. I asked why she didn’t write it down in the medical certificate; she said it wasn’t allowed. She suggested I do not take AstraZeneca because, when I was hospitalized for Covid-19, my immune system went on overdrive to attack the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and my blood thickened. I became prone to dangerous blood clots. I received treatment for it and took blood thinners for two months.

As it turned out for me at the vaccination center, only Sinovac was available as the additional AstraZeneca supply did not arrive.

The Department of Health (DOH) has asked doctors not to prescribe a particular brand of vaccine in medical certificates. “We are asking for the help of our medical societies in improving the public’s vaccine confidence. Help us counter vaccine preference of the people,” Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. This is a follow-up to what President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday last week that the public should not be choosy on the vaccine brand.

Duterte and Vergeire could not be referring to my case of choosing the vaccine that will suit my body, given the blood-thickening effects of the virus in my blood.

Duterte’s order to the DOH to do the inoculation “with a blind eye” as to the brand, however, can be like saying the public has no choice. The person has a choice. When a person goes to the vaccination center, the one in charge will tell you the kind of vaccine to be used. It’s in the vaccination card itself.

You may say “no” to the kind of vaccine available, but you may have to leave the line and schedule your turn for another time. Once offered a vaccine, your choice is to say “yes” and get the jab or “no” and move out of the queue and wait for your turn the next time. It can be tedious because you will have to return to the vaccination center to try your luck again, or you can monitor news reports on what center offers your preferred vaccine and when.

You do have a choice. Don’t get the one that you shouldn’t get. But for the rest of these vaccines, any brand will do.