Yeah, this was damned horrific.
I knew about the tragic circumstances surrounding Dengvaxia, but hadn't really thought about their ramifications for Filipinos' reception of the Covid vaccines, until I read the first article cited below. Jheng is vaccine-hesitant but told me this afternoon she will get the shot(s) when it is her turn; the rest of the family apparently will, too. I brought up Dengvaxia when I spoke with her, and she was animated in her criticism of the government; that wound in her mind, in the minds of many Filipinos, has not healed. The guy in the yellow shirt above, in the photo on the left, is Benigno Aquino III, president of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. His administration brought about the Dengvaxia mess, and left its consequences in the hands of the Duterte administration. Mr. Aquino died earler this month, and was mourned widely here, but the mistakes made on his watch concerning the dengue vaccine, and the furor these mistakes raised, were likely an important factor in his political party's bad performance in the midterms two years ago -- and will likely remain a factor in the general election less than a year away.
This morning at 9:35 I went over to the trike at the head of the line in front of Fred's and got in -- the car was with Jheng because she had meetings with teachers both at Lara'a old school and at her new one. The driver pulled up to the SM Mall's doors about 5 minutes before they opened, and I handed him two purple notes, 200 pesos, more than just about anybody else would pay for this ride, but the neighborhood trike drivers treat me very well, and I treat them very well, all right?
Make sure face mask and face shield are snugly in place. When the doors open, my temp is taken and I hold up my code card, which contains 7 or 8 pieces of my personal information, so the guard can take a photo of it. Escalators to the third level and a walk to the central foyer, where four long lines of chairs are set up. It's a little like a scene at a wildly popular restaurant, where people will wait for more than an hour to get a table. I sit in the last vacant chair in one line, surprised to see so many already there; did another entrance to the mall open earlier? After a while a bureaucrat, one of quite a few ranging around, informs me that the Special of the Day is the Janssen vaccine. Huh? Some quick diddling on my smart phone (in truth, not quick; I'm still getting used to this thing) tells me that the Janssen vaccine is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Jheng received the news two days ago that today would be my turn. So, the J & J? That's fine with me, of course: just one stick. The wait did last more than an hour, but finally I was ushered into one of the mall's movie theaters (which have been closed to moviegoers for more than a year), and got my jab from a jolly nurse almost directly under the theater's big screen.
Vaccines are made by humans, and humans are fallible, sure. But the vaccines against Covid have shown themselves to be not only effective but also safe for the VAST majority of us. And right now the new variant of the virus is ripping into us, for sure. Take a leap of faith, if you're among the purposely unvaxxed: help save your child's education, your elderly, yourselves. Eh?