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Ready to be vaccinated

/ 05:01 AM September 05, 2021

After suffering for five days recently from asthma attacks and cough, and fever for two days, I think I am now ready to have my vaccination and be done with it.

I do recall my younger years when my elementary school classmates and I would be too fearful of the needle whenever the district nurse arrived. I could not remember what the vaccines were for, but our teachers always said they were for health protection from various diseases. Most of my classmates would wail upon seeing the syringe and the vials, way before being pricked. Some of them would make a fit or pretend to go outside, only to be forced to return moments later and still be jabbed on the arm, or sometimes on their behind. No matter how we contemplated on a possible escape from the procedure, we still ended up going through it.

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Now that I am a teacher, it is all déjà vu for me. As education frontliners gearing up for another school year with no face-to-face classes, we are the fourth priority to be vaccinated. With the emergence of the new COVID-19 Delta strain, our provincial government had to fortify our defenses through Executive Order No. 23 series of 2021, or the “Reiteration of and additional protocols to further strengthen existing public health interventions in preparation for the possible entry and transmission of COVID-19 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) in the province of Isabela.” We have been ordered to use double face masks and face shields, and observe other health regulations.

The order also mandates that those from A1 (workers in frontline health services) and A2 (senior citizens) who refuse to be vaccinated shall be prohibited from entering public offices. This may come off as discriminatory, yet the point of ensuring that the general population is armed and shielded from the virus is somewhat reasonable for me.

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The Philippines still has a long and arduous journey to go with the Resbakuna program spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH). I admit that I had been adamantly against taking the vaccine due to rumors about its possible risks and side effects, particularly among those with comorbidities. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is not too reassuring when it mentions that “serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination are rare but may occur.” While the DOH had said that deaths are not linked to having been vaccinated, I still had qualms, so I leaned on the premise that since it would not be compulsory, I did not have to undergo the process.

Nevertheless, now that I am already recuperating from some illness that I considered normal until COVID-19 came along, I am strongly considering the upside of being vaccinated. I have come to realize that since we can never predict when the pandemic will end, it is best to have ourselves and our families protected. Even athletes and coaches in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were not excused from this requirement. Having a healthy lifestyle cannot fully guarantee that one is safe from the virus. As we continue to wrestle with this horrendous illness that has claimed the lives of thousands, we simply have no choice but to get ourselves immunized.

Somehow, in my subconscious, it is also my sincerest and earnest prayer that the safest vaccine would soon be available to children, so they could go back to school without us teachers and their parents worrying about them getting sick. I really hope this happens soon.

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Marjorie T. Millan is a Grade 10 English teacher at San Mateo Vocational and Industrial High School in Isabela.

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TAGS: Commentary, COVID-19 Vaccination, Marjorie T. Millan
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