I don’t think that just because one has been vaccinated, one can already do anything without any care in the world. In the United States, where millions have already been vaccinated, questions were raised on the logic of continuing to wear face masks in crowded places. But I prefer the gradual lifting of restrictions before we go back to doing what we were doing pre-Covid. Having another surge of infections is the last thing we want to have in the Philippines considering our resources.
I have been fully vaccinated, but I continue to wear a face mask when in crowded places. What we have, after all, is still a “two-way street.” Either we get infected by others or we infect others. One, after all, can be asymptomatic but still carry the coronavirus. We may care for our convenience, but what about the safety of others who have not received even a first dose of the vaccine yet? Think, too, of the other members of your family who have not been inoculated. Besides, we can’t afford to have a surge in infection before we can achieve the so-called “herd immunity.” Note that the supply of the vaccines that the country procured has been slow in coming.
It would be the height of arrogance for us to just let go of whatever restrictions are still needed based on our status. We have only inoculated, what, several thousands? Even a few million Filipinos that are already vaccinated won’t suffice. The World Health Organization can’t be certain yet of the number of people in a country that need to be vaccinated before one can say that the country has achieved “herd immunity.” And considering the low vaccine supply, “herd immunity” is not even the goal of the Duterte administration in its mass vaccination effort. A lower level of immunity is being talked about.
That is why I am for the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF’s) more deliberate approach. What happened in India should not be repeated here. At times, we complain too much about the restrictions without considering their positive effects. When I see people doing things without observing the health protocols, I feel sad. This is not the “new normal” we have been talking about in the past.
By the way, public utility vehicles are back to the practice of overloading without lowering the fare. The P10 minimum fare was imposed with physical distancing in mind. The Land Transportation Office or LTO needs to look into this situation. If it decides to have the drivers have their way again, then it should revert to the previous P8 minimum fare. If not, then it should strictly enforce the health protocols, especially on physical distancing.
To be fair, there was one instance when I rode a multicab and the driver got strict with physical distancing because an LTO team was conducting an operation. But this has become a cat-and-mouse game, which is sad in terms of discipline. Meaning that LTO must strictly enforce the rules or anarchy will prevail in the implementation of protocols. Which would be sad.