Lim: Desperation

·2 min read

Was it not government’s muddled and mixed messaging that resulted in the private procurement of Covid-19 vaccines?

Was it not government’s slow action and the now infamous “dropping of the ball,” that caused civic groups to scramble to source vaccines?

Was it not government’s inefficiency that pushed the private sector to take the initiative to purchase vaccines, at their own expense, in a desperate bid to restart business and to save the economy?

Initially, government decreed it would procure and administer vaccines. This seemed justifiable when vaccines were still authorized for emergency use.

But was it not government who also later changed its mind and approved the procurement of vaccines by the private sector so long as it followed government guidelines?

Today, these vaccines have arrived and continue to arrive. There now grows a new kind of desperation—what to do with them. The arms for which they were intended have already been jabbed courtesy of the government.

And while that is a good thing, now, the private sector is stuck with a growing stockpile of vaccines with looming expiration dates. The government might soon face the same fate.

There is no more shortage of vaccines. There is now a shortage of arms to be vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy has set in.

But here are all these people who received their primary shots beginning March of this year, anxious about waning immunity or insufficient immunity due to immunocompromised states—all waiting to get booster or additional shots as the case may be.

Yet, another kind of desperation has emerged—the desperation for third doses. The desperation is so great that people are willing to pay for them.

Waning immunity has been established. Heterologous vaccination (administration of two different types of vaccine) has been deemed safe and protective. Is it not time for the Department of Health to alleviate public anxiety by clarifying the messaging?

Several Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for certain age groups by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). But full market authorization is unlikely to be given by the Philippine FDA for these vaccines anytime soon.

Can the government find a way for the private sector to legitimately dispose of their vaccine stockpiles?

Is it not time for government to act more decisively and with greater practicality and urgency so current vaccine stockpiles do not go to waste?

Why not open vaccination to all if implementing guidelines for third doses are not yet ready?

I was not one of those who “paid” in advance for privately-procured vaccines. But I did not come to that decision easily. So, I do not blame those who acted differently.

We’re all just desperate to get out of these dire times.

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