Toughening times

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The good news is the continued slide-down of covid-19 cases throughout the country. That’s the national profile as recent as yesterday, enough for the country’s virus fighters — including our very own Mayor Benjie — to exult rather happily that the light at tunnel’s end seems within sight.

The bad news though is that on a region-to-region analytics, there seems to be an ascending thrust upward, the covid cases on a surging trend, even as hospital systems in those parts are once again threatening to break apart.

Admittedly, the perpetually watched region, NCR plus 4 (to include Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna) is showing remarkable reduction of daily cases that for a week has held fort, teetering between 4,000 to 6,000, further brought down to 3,000 in a singular day. There’s even a lobby for a further scaling down of quarantine restrictions from GCQ with heightened measures to MGCQ, purposely to allow more industries and businesses to scale up limited operations, to get more workers up the road to recovering lost income.

The remarkable decrease in covid cases down in the MM + 4 provincial enclaves may well have been caused by the vaccination rollout efforts being done for A1 to A2 levels of target sectors — the medical frontliners, the senior citizens, and individuals with comorbidities. While the rollout is in upswing, the situation from city to city seems in deviance with one another. In places like Manila itself, it now prides in having the highest vaccination rate. Other smaller cities like Pateros and Malabon seem to languish at the doormat, its local chief executives bewailing the lack of vaccine supply and the vaccine resistance among the target vaccinees.

Which reminds us of the precise situation in our midst. Of late, the vaccination sites have been a crowded setting, seemingly a result of a sudden surge in interest of vaccinees. Even as only 2 branded vaccines were on hand for the jab in the arm, the crowds still surge up, almost to a distressing swell.

Such discordant sights onsite may well have provoked critical comments that used to habituate willing spaces in the social media. Due to space limitations, crowds are made to queue up in lines that hardly induce reassurance. Seated on chairs put up in apparent haste, the vaccinees –– a merry mix of displeased individuals made to sweat it out while waiting for their turn to be called in — are themselves in profuse levels of tolerance and endurance. Put in mind the sweltering mid-day heat and you’d begin to understand the kind of ordeal one has to go through just get the jab in the arm.
This is being said from personal experience.

This is probably why that Tuesday when we trekked up for our 2nd dose, I shuddered at the thought of the other vax sites — the people lining up for hours, the seated ones sweating it out in varying levels of unsafe distancing, “with not a drop of water to gobble up.”

This must also have prompted Mayor Benjie to do a round up of the sites himself, precisely to see how else to put orderliness in the scheme of things planned and executed by the health authorities.

By and large, whether nationally or locally, the common plaint has been the slow, too slow a pace in the overall vaccination effort, not to mention reports of vaccine slot scams in certain places. The hesitancy to be vaccinated appears to be breaking down especially among the elderlies who are second in line, a level of attitude discernible in the early weeks of the jabbing effort.

But hesitancy may soon harden anew when the vaccine supply meets a God forbid delay, which can happen in transit or from the country or origin. Already, there is the erupting problem of vaccine choosiness evident in scores of vaccinees, enough for some to give up the ordeal once cognizant what brand is on hand.

Just how efficacious the vaccines are is a source of wonder. Health and safety regulators have since determined, from the WHO authorities to even the CDC officials whose standard response to the query is classic. “The most effective vaccines are those at hand.”

Why procrastinate then? It should be a no-brainer, just be vaccinated. Why take chances then? That’s another no-brainer, since your choice now will determine if everyone is kept safe.

Among all of us wanting to get into a level of safety not just for ourselves, not just for our loved ones, but for everyone else, there is but a singular choice. First, be the best; then be the First. Ingat, dapat, angat!

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