AS THE coronavirus (Covid-19) levelled up by splitting into several variants and as vaccine manufacturers and scientists continue to conduct more research to improve the efficacy of their products, health officials and agencies are also updating their guidelines to Covid response which sometimes create confusion among the public.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clears up any public confusion following its announcement last weekend that vaccinated Americans can go maskless. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities large or small, without wearing mask or physical distancing,” said CDC Director Rochelle Wallensky. These new guidelines were a complete 180-degree turn on the earlier protocols the agency issued that required people to observe the basic health protocols despite being fully vaccinated.
However, these new guidelines are not applicable to schools as students are not yet fully vaccinated. “Systems and policy adjustments may be required for schools to change mask requirements for students and staff while continuing to ensure the safety and unvaccinated population,” the CDC said. Although the CDC’s guideline permits vaccinated Americans to go maskless, several states have not lifted their mask mandates and officials are urging Americans to get shots as soon as they can.
These new CDC guidelines raise questions for parents, essential workers and business establishments on which to follow. As of May 15, 2021, a total of 121,768,268 Americans have been fully vaccinated or 36.7 percent of the country’s 270 million population. The US government has been doing everything from information and education campaign, to government extending stimulus packages, giving of freebies like products and private commercial establishments discounts and even to the extent of coercing employees by terminating their employment to force them to submit themselves to vaccination. But despite these, there are a lot of American citizens who are still hesitant.
The US government’s target is to inoculate three million people a day and all Americans should be fully vaccinated on July 4, because it’s a big day for the Americans as they will be celebrating Independence Day and there are several activities lined up. By then, they can go back to their normal lives to the pre-pandemic era.
While CDC is the highest health policy body in the US, our health officials here should not just swallow hook, line and sinker its guidelines, as there are some guidelines that are only applicable in the US, like this non-observance of the basic safety health protocols for those fully vaccinated, which is not applicable here in our country. We still have to observe the basic protocols to avoid being infected by the virus. Unlike in the US, only a very small percentage of the country’s 110 million population have been fully vaccinated. Besides, experts say being fully vaccinated is not a guarantee that one can no longer be infected and can, in fact, still transmit the virus—although those infected won’t be categorized as critical or severe and are less likely to be hospitalized.
There are a lot of people who are not fully vaccinated. So be careful in dealing with these people as they can infect you. Still, wear masks and face shields in indoor and outdoor events, wash your hands frequently with alcohol and still observe social distancing. It’s better to be on alert always than regret it later.
The resolution sponsored by Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon appealing for establishment owners to give freebies and discounts to fully vaccinated city residents is a copycat from the US and just icing on the cake. There are several reasons some people will not submit themselves to Covid-19 vaccination.
1) Vaccine distrust is a growing problem that can have serious consequences; 2) Concerns about safety, fear of unknown side effects and misinformation about Covid-19 are some reasons why some people may not accept the vaccine; 3) Education transparency and promotion of vaccine acceptance by health care workers and community leaders are the best ways to combat vaccine distrust.
You just cannot convince those who showed vaccine distrust or those “Doubting Thomases” to submit themselves to vaccination by giving freebies or discounts. Unsa may pagtuo ni Dizon sa mga tawo? Bata nga hatagan lang ug lollipop, mosugot na? (What does Dizon think of the people? That they are like children to whom you give lollipops and they will consent to be vaccinated already?) The best move is to educate these people about the benefits we can get once fully vaccinated.