Will you take the shot for us?


    ‘I wouldn’t mind being among the last to be inoculated and will happily give my place to the family members of the VIPs who are happy to die for us.’

    THE other day a group of my friends were in earnest discussion about the vaccines being developed around the world. Most were hopeful that we are finally seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic that has reshaped our world and our lives in ways very few ever thought possible. Not surprisingly, millions upon millions are closely following the announcements from Pfizer and Moderna and Astra Zeneca because, frankly, we have suffered enough. From minor distractions like having to wear masks and face shields and practice physical distancing and all, to major ones like dealing with the virus yourself or having to nurse (if not mourn the loss of) a loved one or worrying about where tomorrow’s paycheck will come from.

    Despite the vaccine news, we are told to expect to continue dealing with this virus through 2021 and maybe till 2022. Getting the chance to travel abroad, to meet up with relatives and friends, and to do other things that the social and sociable homo sapiens is wired to do will have to wait a little longer.

    I can imagine how many have already been driven up the wall by all the rules that the IATF has imposed on us, and the idea that we will have to continue to follow can be a depressing thought – unless you’re a VIP in government in which case you’re excused. We will just have to continue finding ways and means of coping individually and as groups because we have no choice – again unless you’re a government VIP in which case you’re excused.

    One of the ways I stay sane is by imagining situations where our VIPs in government get to show us how much they are dedicated to serving us. Especially those who love to tell us how so willing they are to die for us. Those words, specially, bring tears to my eyes, since I know they are sincere. (Imagine the heroism!) And that’s why the other day during that friendly exchange of ideas about the vaccines, it hit me: let the VIPs in government be the first to take the vaccines.

    I know that the President has said that the vaccines will be given to the poor first. And that does sound so noble: why indeed not let those who have less in life have more in vaccines?

    It sounds so good — until you realize that these vaccines are being issued based on “emergency use authorization,” meaning the world’s health officials are aware there may be unknown risks involved, risks that may take time to surface – yet they feel that those potential risks are outweighed by the real threat of the virus, hence the willingness to take shortcuts in the testing and studying of the impact of the vaccines. It’s one risk outweighing the others.

    What does that mean? It means that here it will be “the poor” who will be made the lab rats for the vaccine. That’s the basic underlying implication of giving the vaccines to the poor first.

    But why the poor? There are better options.

    Why not the VIPs in government who keep saying they’re happy to die for us? Who knows, the vaccines may end up side-effects free anyway, which means the government VIPs get a great free pass to a COVID-free life? If you trust Pfizer and Moderna and Astra Zeneca or (in the case of some high ups in the NG) the Chinese or Russian versions, then why don’t you guys go first? I wouldn’t mind being among the last to be inoculated and will happily give my place to the family members of the VIPs who are happy to die for us.

    So there. If I were to be counted among the poor Filipinos chosen to be the first recipients of the vaccines I am making known here and now that I am passing up my chance and offering my slot to those happy to die for me. Maybe the IATF members, too, and their kin.

    We’ve ordered 2.5 million doses? That should cover their extended families, even their househelp. Modern versions of a Rizal who refused to be rescued on the eve of his execution, only this time we are talking about government VIPs who love us so much they’re willing to expose an arm (no need for a leg) to take the first vaccine from China (or Russia or Moderna) for the good of the Filipino people.

    Instead of seeing VIPs in government excused from following the rules why don’t we have them set the example this time, yes?

    No need to die for us.

    Just take the shot for us.