Malilong: Waiting for the vaccine

Frank Malilong
·3 min read

LAST week, I received a text message from a friend in the province, dismissing the coronavirus as fake. The pandemic is a hoax, she said.

Having lost a few close friends to the Covid-19, I felt slighted by the cavalier attitude, but I resisted the urge to engage her in a debate because I knew from the tenor of her message (all caps and punctuated by exclamation points) that it would be pointless.

Sadly, she is not alone. In fact, I have decided to stop reading the comments in the daily bulletin issued by the Department of Health because it distressed me to know that until now, with confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country breaching the half million mark and coronavirus-related deaths numbering almost 11,000, many people still believe that the pandemic is a government invention from which officials and cronies are making money.

Maybe, they should try working in the hospital so they will understand that there is a real disease in our midst and it could kill people. Or maybe, it would not be such a bad idea to have them catch the virus themselves, lose their sense of smell, nurse a fever and a cough, gasp for breath, get intubated and still survive and be confronted with the burden of the cost of hospitalization.

If it’s any consolation, this insanity is not peculiar to us. All over the world, we hear stories of people who claim that the coronavirus is nothing but a conspiracy calculated to further enrich billionaires like Bill Gates. This planet is full of weirdos.

Last Sunday in Los Angeles, California, around 50 demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Dodgers Stadium for about an hour even as a long column of motorists waited outside to have themselves vaccinated. The protesters did not believe in the vaccine, dismissing it as another scam, which, it must be stressed, is within their right to do. But the idea of the minority imposing their belief on the many is simply ridiculous.

I do not think that this behavior will show its face here, notwithstanding the skepticism by some towards the pandemic and consequently towards the vaccine. In the first place, I do not think our authorities will be as tolerant as their American counterparts who let the LA protesters go and did not file any charges. Our policemen will only be too willing to haul off to jail anyone who causes a similar disruption.

Which reminds me, how soon can we start vaccination in Cebu? Sooner than earlier planned, I hope. The current surge in coronavirus infections should prod our officials to readjust their timetable to an earlier date.

As a matter of fact, our officials should already have a plan on the mechanics of the rollout this early. Compared to the other vaccines, the one for Covid is said to be more perishable. Do we already have a plan where to store them and how quickly we can inject them to the people?

And who are the people who will get the vaccine in Cebu City, for example? Should they be limited to the city residents only? What about those who reside outside but work in the city? Shouldn’t they be the concern of the city government, too?

If the first batch of vaccines is not enough for every Cebu City resident, who will enjoy priority? We are not known to patiently wait for our turn. If we do not have a plan now, there will be confusion. Other countries, including the US, went through that. Let’s learn from their experience.