So here we are now. The worries about the efficacy of Sinovac are rising, with some nations that fell for China’s vaccine diplomacy experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections despite ongoing vaccination. Experts are not linking the surge to the lack of efficacy of the vaccine, noting that many of those who were infected by the coronavirus were either unvaccinated or those who only got the first dose of the two-dose vaccine. I already got two Sinovac jabs and I am not panicking. I leave my next move to local health authorities.
My wife recently got her first dose of a Pfizer-made vaccine. Given those stories about people getting infected even if they were already vaccinated with Sinovac, it is not surprising that some of my unvaccinated friends have become choosy. They now prefer the vaccines made by Western firms instead of the one made by a Chinese pharma firm.
One thing reassuring for me is the report that the maker of Sinovac is developing a booster vaccine, meaning a probable third dose that will be administered six months later. Hopefully, these will again be donated as follow-up to China’s vaccine diplomacy. Isn’t that a responsibility if the vaccine given earlier is less effective than the others? I have no problem with a third jab even if I endured some side effects after my second jab.
At least the World Health Organization (WHO) is telling us that despite recent developments, Sinovac can provide us with protection against Covid-19. We can also help ourselves by following minimum protocol especially on the wearing of face masks, physical distancing and regular disinfection. That should ensure we won’t get infected even if we are already vaccinated.
Which brings us to the quality of Chinese-made products. Their advantage has always been the Western firms’ weakness: pricing. Chinese-made products are cheap. The advantage of products made by the West is in their quality. But they are expensive. And in a country like the Philippines, price is the bigger concern. This is why Chinese firms defeated their Western counterparts here, especially in electronics and related industries.
I used to carry around a West-made tiny battery-operated AM-FM transistor radio. In the mountains, I would carry a bigger Japan-made cassette recorder. I liked them because while they were expensive, the sound they made was pleasing to the ears. But those items can no longer be found in stores, replaced by a flood of China-made products. Also dominating the market are cheap China-made cell phones, some of them “imits” (for imitation.)
The problem with this mindset is that it could be destructive when extended to politics. China-supported candidates did win in the 2016 elections, but their quality is obviously lacking. Cebuanos have a term for that: “Basta lang gud modaug.” President Duterte, for example, was a China-supported presidential bet in 2016.
That should be lesson learned not only for consumers but also for voters.