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The virus or the needle

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

I was elated to hear the news that the United States is giving its excess vaccines to the Philippines. I am sure it will not be, as some suspicious Pinoys might be thinking, expired ones, or those they didn’t find effective. I believe in the saying that you must not look a gift horse in the mouth. Let’s accept them, even if they are leftovers, because we will have our own way of testing them, won’t we? And we consider United States an “old friend” don’t we?

***

But how come reports have also said that most of the COVID variants found in the United Kingdom are of the India variant? But perhaps that is not surprising, since there is free access between the countries, isn’t there? It seems, though, that this virus has a way of reaching out everywhere, so the most, and probably the best that we can all do is ensure that we get protected from it, that is, through vaccination, or sheer avoidance of crowds and unfamiliar company, to evade it. That is not too hard to comply with, is it?

***

It is good to hear the COVAX has been asking the rich nations to share their vaccines. It seems it can afford to help other countries with as much as one billion worth of vaccines. Let us hope that part of that will come to our country, so we can assure that more of our people will be immunized against this plague that has sprung upon so many countries, so swiftly and so viciously. I hope our medical community will not hesitate to forward their own requests for participation in that. This is no time to quibble or hesitate, this means the survival of a lot of our kababayans!

***

One cannot help wondering, though, how come Israel and Palestine can still afford to fight each other at this time. The whole world is battling a very serious calamity, the likes of which, it may not even have seen before. Are they not affected by this newly discovered virus? Aren’t their people struggling to find means to combat it? For all we know they may be getting more casualties from their war than from the COVID invasion! Who can tell them to “Cease and Desist”?

***

There is reportedly a target of 500,000 for vaccination in our country everyday. Can we attain that? Seems we still have a lot of Doubting Thomases who do not trust the efficacy of the stuff available. I even heard that in Muntinglupa, people are lured to the vaccination centers  with promises of rice gifts for every one who submit to it. I don’t think we have that problem in our city, which I take to mean that people are more health-conscious, and surely not superstitious!

***

At first I didn’t mind much the news report that nine people were killed in a mass shooting that took place in San Jose, California. But later news came out that there was a Pinoy among the victims! Ah, yes, our people, adventurous as they are, can be located in various parts of the world, and most especially in the United States where they are “at home”, not only with the language, but also with the people, and can see a lot of their former countrymen anywhere. Funny, but when I saw a world map recently, I noted that the Philippines is really separated as a body of islands and does not belong to a mass like the others.

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Which could be the reason why we are such an independent people. Many now think we would have been better off had we remained under the United States, but we worked hard to gain independence. And I know many, who, until now still  regret our  having broken off with the Americans, the attainment of which  was the main mission of our earlier officials. I can’t  remember now, but who was it who declared in the 1940s that “I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos, than one run like heaven by the Americans!” Did he get his wish?

***

I heard that the Health Department is targetting 500,000 vaccinations a day but I don’t know if that refers to the entire country, or only Metro Manila. The inexplicable thing is why many are still wary of getting the vaccines. In Muntinglupa, they are raffling rice among those who agree to be vaccinated. Other places have other enticements. How come? Are there people less afraid of the virus than of a needle?*

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