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theWeeklySillimanian | March 6, 2021

The Philippines received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses in a shipment donated by China on Sunday, a day before a national inoculation campaign was set to begin. President Rodrigo Duterte attended a ceremony to commemorate the delivery of the first 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac by a Chinese military plane. This year, the Philippines will receive another 25 million CoronaVac doses in batches.

With the vaccine arrival, the Philippines began its national coronavirus vaccination campaign on the following day, Monday, despite widespread public skepticism and a lack of vaccine supplies.The Philippines is the last country in Southeast Asia to receive COVID-19 vaccine supplies. The Duterte administration wants to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos, but public opinion surveys show widespread opposition due to concerns about the CoronaVac vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. Now that the ball is rolling, are Filipinos ready for immunization from the virus that crippled lives for a year now?

Let’s face it, we all want things to get back to normal, to where they were used to be. For students, almost everyone cannot bear the struggles of online classes for another year: we are done, depressed, and deprived. Yet, even with the arrival of vaccines donated by China, no one can be so sure of when we will experience the same liberty we once had, especially that ‘vaccines’ are controversial in the country following past incidents.

We cannot blame Filipinos as well for their skepticism on the idea of vaccination. We were all there when the Dengvaxia issue transpired. It was nothing short of a tragedy. Children died and parents cannot help but blame the government for its incompetence and lack of accountability. We would never want to repeat what history has taught us.

However, more than worrying over the ill-effects of the vaccines, let us all look back on how many clinical trials these vaccines underwent for humans to use. It is proved to be safe. It is proved to help us get back to where we were pre-pandemic.

The Weekly Sillimanian is in one with the government for its coronavirus vaccination campaign. However, along with the rollout, we call for absolute transparency and accountability in the name of public interest. We also call for a massive information drive for Filipinos to understand how vaccines work and their rights to refuse for personal preference.

While we continue to grapple with the force of coronavirus, may we all be reminded that every decision we make must be centered on the safety of every Filipino. This week is a crucial one in the Philippines for the COVID-19 pandemic’s management. The way we deal with the increase in cases in the NCR, as well as the vaccine rollout of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines, would have a long-term effect on the pandemic’s future.


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