Last week, a vaccination-related post by celebrity Erwan Heussaff became surprisingly controversial in social media circles.
In an Instagram post, Mr. Heussaff announced that he got his second dose of Sinovac and then encouraged his followers to get vaccinated ASAP. He also revealed that he had ordered Moderna for himself and his employees months ago but after being frustrated by the delays and the lack of timeline, he just signed up in Makati as an A4.
The post rambled a bit, as most of us tend to, but in general, I agreed with his thoughts. His bottom line was we all need to get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available ASAP so society can have a chance at returning to normal.
Where the disagreements and bashing apparently came from is, the people who felt offended by the word “choosy” and felt they were being undermined by one guy’s decision to get vaccinated with Sinovac and post about it on IG. Based on the reactions to Erwan’s post, it seems that a lot of people are either not yet ready to be vaccinated or still bent on waiting for their preferred brand of vaccine.
Some called him a hypocrite for ordering Moderna, getting Sinovaxed and telling people not to be choosy. Others took exception to him saying that the vaccines are provided free by government, highlighting the lower efficacy figures numbers and higher cost of the government’s choice of Sinovac and pointing out the incompetence and corruption in such a piss-poor deal for the Filipino people. Others found his tone condescending and preachy.
Others, like me agreed wholeheartedly with him. We need as many people, celebrity status or not, to encourage everyone to get vaccinated with whatever is available right now so we can be protected and our society that has been under various stages of the quarantine wheel of fortune can finally start to normalize.
I know how Erwan felt because like him, my wife and I also signed up for Moderna shots when it was offered through her multinational employer. We also waited until we were convinced that it wouldn’t be delivered until Christmas and then we signed up with our LGU as a backup. And when our LGU gave us the call, we got our Sinovac jabs which were the ones available during that time because the Moderna vaccines we had ordered and are still waiting for hasn’t arrived. Like Erwan, we also got our second dose of Sinovac last week.
Am I glad to be vaccinated? Yes I am. Do I wish I had been jabbed with a better vaccine? Hell yes! Do I regret my choice to go with the Sinovac that was available? Nope, because I’m already done with my second dose and if I insisted on waiting for the “better” dose, I’d probably still be waiting and totally unprotected from Covid. In the future, will I go for a non-Sinovac booster if it is proven to be necessary and becomes available? Most likely.
Right now, it doesn’t matter if our government got us the vaccine with the lower efficacy and higher cost. The vaccine we are offered is still an effective vaccine and that is what we get because of the quality of our leaders. They dropped the ball so we get Sinovac. It is still a vaccine and it is the one that is available.
It is natural to want the best for ourselves but we forget that we are Filipinos, not New Zealanders. We voted Rodrigo Duterte into power, not Jacinta Ardern. They get their government that responded excellently to the pandemic while we deserve what we got: weekly late night drinking sessions with the boomer command.
If we insist on waiting for a better vaccine or a better government, it might take a while and for the latter, it will take a lot of action from our end. Between the two, I’ll take my chances with Sinovac because at least it is 50 percent effective. As for our government that seems to be even less effective at everything it is supposed to do, just remember we will need to be vaccinated first because bashing an influencer on social media does not need vaccination but it is needed to go out into the streets to either start campaigning for a better future or to protest poor governance.
If only we were as choosy with public officials as we are with vaccines, we wouldn’t be in this mess. What is funny now is that the ones who are choosy with their public officials are the ones who are willing to get the less effective vaccine while the ones who don’t have standards for government officials suddenly have super high standards for their bodies.*