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Alternative solutions

I was recently told my column last week on the unvaxxed touched some nerves and got a number of strong reactions after it was posted on Facebook. I believe some commenters were so mad they resorted to name-calling and ad hominem attacks.

Visayan Daily Star content is regularly posted on Facebook by a staff member but I very rarely go on that social media platform so I’ll have to apologize to the rabid commenters for seemingly ignoring their comments. I honestly still haven’t read the comments but I would like to thank them for reading my column and posting their reactions.

While I apologize for not reading comments and thank my readers for taking the time to read and even comment, I would like to clarify I am not apologizing for my opinion. Yes, I probably could’ve been a little less harsh, but it’s difficult not to be frustrated after dealing with this pandemic for more than two years now.

I am among those who can consider myself fortunate because I haven’t lost anyone close to COVID. I have not lost my job. The only big thing my family has lost is time. My daughter entered high school in quarantine and has already spent two years stuck at home because of this poorly managed pandemic. My son’s 2 years in Senior High School has been spent stuck at home and if the pandemic hopefully ends this year, my kids’ lack of real-world experience makes it extra worrisome to think that we could be shipping our man-child off to university by next year. I only hope the mental and psychological fortitude of their generation is enough to make up for all the time and social interactions they have lost.

I strongly believe that vaccination is the best way out of this pandemic and that is why it is frustrating to see so many people still refuse to cooperate.What is worse is some of these people don’t only just hold out, but evenmake the effort to spread their personal beliefs and fears, without bothering to offer any alternative solution that makes sense.

People getting worked up over an opinion column read by a handful of people must mean they must have pretty strong convictions. I frankly don’t care about their personal reasons for either refusing vaccination or for campaigning against it. However, if they have a solution that is better than the globally accepted strategy of vaccinating majority of the population as soon as possible, we’d definitely love to hear it.

In response to the outcry, I’m offering this space for the affected to present their science and data-based solutions to this pandemic. All they have to do is to shoot an email to editorial@visayandailystar.com and if the proposal it makes sense and is feasible, I’ll include it in my next column. If it makes extra good sense, I’ll try to get them even more space in the newspaper. Due to space restrictions, just keep it to less than 600 words, ok? And please…don’t be anonymous.

I’m excited to see what comes up.

Note that I’m not interested in personal excuses or reasons. The email can come with an attachment of a notarized medical certificate and it won’t make a difference and certainly won’t be published on this limited space because the public doesn’t care about that.

I also don’t want anecdotes or rumors because those aren’t solutions. Anything with insults or name-calling will be immediately ignored and/or deleted. What I want to see from the people who are against vaccination is to put forth what they believe are viable and workable solutions to this pandemic that does not involve the vaccines they are railing against. If they can give me that information, I’d be glad to give it space on this column.

Until somebody from the unvaxxed camp can come up with a convincing alternative solution that can get us out of this pandemic within the same timeframe as mass vaccination, I’m going to continue advocating for vaccination so this planet can achieve herd immunity as soon as possible and we, the vaccinated can get on with our lives before the next variant of concern comes along and messes up our chances of recovery once again.

The beauty of the current plan is that if it works and we end the pandemic using vaccines, the unvaxxed must surely realizethat they get to enjoy the benefits as well. What I don’t understand is that despite so many of us are already taking the risk for them, they are still trying to slow down the only viable plan by making the effort to demonize vaccines and convince the hesitant to follow their lead. All this while failing to presenttheir own alternative solution.

I’m already vaxxed and boostered. There’s nothing to lose from giving my unvaxxed readers the opportunity to present their solution and listen with an open mind. At this point, it doesn’t matter for me who has the right solution. I just want a viable solution to be implemented ASAP.

However, if there is no alternative solution available, it probably wouldn’t hurt for an antivaxxer or two trydialing down the fear. If they cannot consider rolling up their sleeves so we could collectively beat this pandemic faster, can they at the very least stop putting up roadblocks, so the rest of us who don’t have a problem with vaccines can be part of the current solution and move on?*

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