How I got my first vaccine dose | Inquirer Opinion
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How I got my first vaccine dose

I got my first dose of Sinovac vaccine last April 20. I did not expect this event to happen some months ago when the government rolled out its vaccination program against COVID-19. Back then, I did not want to get vaccinated due to personal reasons.

My youngest daughter Danie, who is a physician, also had initial reservations about me getting the vaccine because of my allergy to a lot of medicines (certain antibiotics, painkillers and even second-generation antihistamines), plus a history of a scary anaphylactic shock from a severe allergy attack. She thought that since I hardly go out of the house anyway (pandemic or not), and almost everyone in our household had been vaccinated already, I did not have to get it. She was also worried that I might get the infection at the vaccination site if there were too many people and I had to wait long.


She changed her mind after going through my medical history and the vaccine recommendations once more, and told me I should not be discouraged from getting the vaccine. She recalled that my anaphylactic episode was secondary to food, and I have never actually had a reaction secondary to vaccine components in the past. She also assured me she would be with me during the whole process, and could do the initial management should my post-vaccine condition get to that point. (She actually was already keeping a kit of epinephrine, diphenhydramine, IV set, etc., handy at home ever since I had that episode of anaphylactic shock.)

I remained adamant. I was scared! I continued to hold back.


I reconsidered my options after my wife Thelma and my older sister Elena got vaccinated without any adverse reactions. A week later, as if in a moment of epiphany, I blurted out at the dinner table: “I want the vaccine. I’m afraid of getting infected by COVID-19 more than any possible reaction from being vaccinated.”

Danie brightened up, happy at my change of heart. She wondered aloud how people are so afraid of the minuscule risk of adverse reactions or discouraged by the “low” efficacy rate of the available vaccine while forgetting that one’s chances of getting the virus and its accompanying dreadful complications are much higher without the vaccine.

I finally got convinced that even if I do not go out of the house at all and even if I am surrounded by household members who had already been vaccinated, there is still that possibility of getting the virus from someone else. I decided then that I should get any additional protection available, since I am most vulnerable due to my age and current comorbidities.

I was disheartened, however, when I learned that Quezon City had reportedly run out of its supply of vaccines.

But the God of surprises had a small miracle for me. Without warning, our village official called and offered me one of the last few slots for assisted registration for a round of vaccines. I grabbed the opportunity with no hesitation and informed my family. My eldest daughter Pizza came in haste from Pasig to Quezon City and drove us to the site, where the whole vaccination process took a tad more than half an hour. I rested at home under Danie’s care without experiencing any side effects from the vaccine.

Today, I am convinced that the country needs more of us Filipinos to get vaccinated. If any vaccine gets offered to you, please don’t turn it down to wait for a better one. As someone puts it: “The best vaccine for you is really what’s available to you NOW.”


Danilo G. Mendiola, 79, and his wife live with a daughter and son-in-law (who are both physicians) in Quezon City.

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TAGS: COVID-19, Sinovac, vaccine
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