Heard immunity?

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At the glacial pace the country is having — amid the usual belly-aching days we’ve been hearing coast-to-coast — it really looks like that the vaunted goal of herd immunity is quite far down the road. Covid experts are now saying getting to that level may be achieved by 2023.

In recent days, however, it seems that the vaccination rollout has accelerated a bit faster than it has been these past 2-3 months. The problem is not vaccine hesitancy, as shown by wrenching images of people lining up early dawn just to get ahead of the others. It has always been the unreliable supply of the sought after vaccines.

That should be accepted as a cardinal lack, not people getting choosy, or hesitant, or on a wait-and-see mood. It’s the severe lack of vaccines on-site. The few millions that came, make no mistake about it, were simply plowed into the MM area, as in past few weeks the covid cases were simply rocketing past the roof.

As it happened, the promdi among us got shoved further out in the vaccine rollout, about 50% to the hard-hit areas and the rest equitably shared among far-off places. It was just a matter of time that as the covid cases slid down, those in the provinces shot up. Loosely managed health protocol practices may have caused the uptrend, but surely, the vaccine lack had something to do with the direness of the situation.

Yes, tough times we’re having, but still resilient enough to plod it on, strive it further, get going in a race past the pandemic, and get going for good. Herd immunity, we don’t seem to hear of it as a target goal this year, not by a long shot. Getting an average vax shot of 150,000 daily nationwide will not simply achieve that goal within the year. Do the math, friend. No way, Jose.

About the singular significance in this week’s vaccine roll out is the fact that Pfizer is in town, about 2 million of it, that when the news broke out, hordes of vaccines simply clogged up the vax sites. As for China’s wonder drug, some worrisome news about it has been concerning to those who got jabbed. Some notable countries have been reported to have their vaxed people getting infected!

Surely, that bit of news being reported on the giant screen gets the shivers up. Well, that’s exactly where we’re all in, braving the odds, battling it out, and bettering up down and up the road. Well, we just have to ride out that kind of a scare.

About the only wrinkle in this week’s case tally is the apparent transference of rising cases to places elsewhere, much more so in places unheard of — the Bicol region, the Visayas, and Mindanao — as promdi voices continued to rise in raging decibels.

Here in Baguio, our situation in this part of the country appears to be holding fort. Stabilizing, in a manner of speaking. Cases are hovering in double digits — but not in an alarming scale to call in the troops. Still very manageable, as our own Mayor Benjie lets it out at the slightest hint of inquisitive queries. To be sure, he’s keeping a vigilant eye on more vaccine arrivals, knowing that supply lack will push back our target sector goal for 2-dosage jabs.

Now, Hizzoner is sounding off alarms on the Delta variant. This is a mutated formulation of the virus that sprang in India, infected millions of the populace, and has been stalking and infecting other peoples in a seeming speed race. He’s reiterating consistent iterations for continued, relentless, and non-stop compliance with the minimum health protocols. He’s telling the target sectors to get vaxed now, while there’s something available.

One wishes that the surging tide is of hope, not of exasperation. From where we view things, more from out there at the grassroots, it’s all because of the never-say-die spirit. Against the variants hovering here and there, we should get past these, simply by not slackening off, by not surrendering that sturdy faith. But, this time the resurgence is characteristically of confidence, of a hardening belief that getting past the virus can only take place by getting jabbed.

For more than a year, we’ve all labored together in a mighty push to get the virus slain, once and for all. Without the vaccines, we pushed ahead, restraining all liberalities as a free people, to make things work, to prove to all and sundry that as Filipinos we’re made of sterner stuff.

For one thing, there’s our resilience as a people, demonstrated amply by the ups and downs of a health threat that has gripped the country far too long. For another, there’s the continuing battle being waged virtually on all fronts, showcasing a government all-out in response to the raging epidemic. Yet another, there’s the delicate balance everyone seems well cognizant, the health and safety needs versus the economic.

Getting vaccinated, mindful of the protection it gives us, should get us closer to community protection. Not just you and I and the rest of the family — but all of us, without exception. The proverbial light at tunnel’s end can only be within grasp by keeping ourselves safe, our families protected, our communities insulated from the deadly disease.

All it really takes is a cohesive, seamless, collaborative endeavor not relying on individual interests. It means you and I and the rest of us pooling it out for a huge push forward. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going? That’s what we did for close to 15 months, toughening ourselves for the hard, harrowing strife.

Herd immunity down the road? That’s for you and I and all the rest of us to work for collectively. That’s for the vaccination effort to get past the glacial pace that it’s been marked all this time, all because the vaccines are here today and gone tomorrow.

About time that herd immunity is not simply an unheard clamor, but a vital need. Again, nothing like the competitive spirit in us to raise the Filipino flag out there with pride. Buong Pilipinas, isang buong pangkat. Lahat, angat dapat. Lahat, Ingat!”

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