ON THE heels of the reassuring news that pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have developed vaccines that offer high levels of protection by preventing Covid-19 among people who are vaccinated, let us not, however, be complacent going forward in the hope of getting it sooner than later.
While the good news may have spurred optimism, the fact remains that the world is still debating as to who gets it first – and last, and how to go about distributing it.
The common consensus now among medical experts is that the first wave of an immunization campaign shall be directed at the frontline health workers, but who receives next still hangs in the air.
Some recommend vaccinating people over 65 years old first, while others prioritize police and firefighters. Other plans give higher priority to those with underlying health issues such as hypertension, cancer, obesity and those with respiratory problems. Those living in crowded areas are also high in the list as they are most vulnerable and if neglected can be fearfully described as super spreader of the coronavirus if it hits even one member of the community.
Indeed the vaccine news is very much welcomed and it looks likely that every country afflicted get the chance to bring the pandemic under control.
We just have to wait what the guidelines would be for distribution from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after it shall have been given the authorization or approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its use.
Though we have high hopes for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the fact remains that for a far-flung country like the Philippines, acquiring it may be much later than sooner. The saving grace is that because the vaccines are science, medicine and data decision based, its efficacy is more reliable.
This brings me then to the core of my concern about going forward with complacency because from now until the FDA-approved vaccines arrive we will, inevitably, be witnessing more Covid-19 cases and deaths unless we continue practicing the prevention protocols we have been made to follow and remember always which is that of strictly wearing masks, closely observing social distancing and ever mindful of hand hygiene.
We ought to remember the old cliché that says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Surely it is easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to experience loneliness at being confined in the hospital without your loved ones around you – that is of course if the hospital has still room available for you. What is even worse is to suffer, in the aftermath, potentially serious mental and physical health consequences due to the dreadful disease.