I received the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine last Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The barangay health worker who registered me for vaccination visited me in the morning to inform me that my name was on the list of senior citizens set to be inoculated starting at 1 p.m. I later sought the other “seniors” in the neighborhood looking for a companion in going to a gym nearby where the vaccination was to be held. All of them said they didn’t want to be vaccinated.
That sparked a short anti-vaccine conversation containing rumors about people dying after vaccination and other unverified tales. So as not to prolong the “agony,” I let them be and went to the gym accompanied by my son. The health workers prepared 100 jabs of the vaccine for that day. My number was already in the 90s. I was almost cut off.
The process was orderly and smooth because of the number of health workers who were there to assist. After filling out the form, I went through a short medical checkup. Thankfully, my blood pressure did not act up. I calmed myself by watching the gag show shown on a screen placed in a strategic part of the gym. Another screen placed on the stage showed relevant information about vaccination.
When it was my turn to be interviewed, I was made to answer a set of prepared questions that included my last admission to a hospital and my allergies. After a while, I was instructed to go to another table for my first jab. I am not afraid of needles but closed my eyes readying myself for the pain of the needle’s prick. After that, I was told to wait for 30 minutes while I was monitored for any adverse reaction to the vaccine. My pulse and blood pressure were monitored every 15 minutes. After some last-minute instructions, I was told that I could already go home. But I had to be back for the second dose next month.
I was more relieved than worried about the rumored danger after having oneself vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019. Except for a minor pain in my vaccinated arm, I am okay now. Hopefully, my body will start forming the antibodies that could block the entry of the coronavirus in my system. But I will still follow minimum health protocols, especially since my wife and my sons have still to be vaccinated.
For us, the light at the end of the tunnel is already visible, although the refusal of my neighbors to be vaccinated can be a dampener. When can we achieve the so-called herd immunity with such an attitude? A certain percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to finally halt the spread of the coronavirus in our midst.
Ignorance and disinformation are but two of the enemies of our vaccination effort. They make successful the anti-vaccine movement initiated by conspiracy theorists. But truth and science can also be potent weapons, plus the example provided by the millions who have already been vaccinated in the country. Rumors and fake news can’t spread if we build walls of truth around us.