I don’t think there was a group of anti-vaxxers in the country pre-Covid like what they have in the Western countries. Anti-vaxxers came about because of the fiasco around dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, as I recall. I’ve written about why the government of former President Noynoy Aquino approved Dengvaxia even if it hadn’t undergone the last stage of clinical trials and went ahead with the inoculation of children. We all know how that turned out.
In his Inquirer column “Vaccine preference: A matter of trust” today, Professor Randy David cites studies on Canadians that suggest that vaccine brand preference is based on science…
This was the study’s most fascinating finding, and it’s worth repeating it: Vaccine choice figures most prominently among those who, having followed the science and listened to the experts, are concerned to know if the vaccine they are getting will protect them against the new variants. To them, vaccines are not created equal.
… though he stops short of asserting that the same sort of thinking guides Filipinos just as much.
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The findings from the Canadian study may or may not apply to Filipinos. But, whether or not vaccine preference reflects unexamined cultural biases, it is important to remind those who make decisions in our name that “public beliefs matter, because they guide behavior.” This is true for any society.
This may be true up to an extent but it doesn’t discount the fact that the Opposition discredited Sinovac and Sputnik publicly when they were announced. It doesn’t help that Western countries are playing the same game. The old technology for vaccines is the use of an inactive virus which triggers the immune system to produce antibodies. The new technology is based on genetic manipulation of the spike protein which Covid uses to stored throughout the body after the immune system’s cytokine storm defense is triggered. The spike protein DNA is contained in the form of an adenovirus.
I’ve had several discussions with friends about the subject and believe me, their judgement is not based on science. Why? Some of them went to the extent of taking Ivermectin as a prophylactic. Didn’t you notice that the furor over Ivermectin has died down? This is due to the availability of vaccines. David will not admit it but the Opposition has shifted their strategy to vaccine preference in order to derail the rollout. Why? They want to use it as an election issue. If you remember, Vice President Leni Robredo had been pushing for the public vaccination of President Rodrigo Duterte. She claimed she was willing to undergo the same process. She was, in fact, vaccinated last week. You know how she is constantly exploiting the PR angle of anything and everything so why didn’t the OVP produce a PSA for release after her inoculation? There was even the inane suggestion that she appear together with the President in the PSA. They actually want this to happen because Robredo has a problem with her planned run for Governor of the province of Camarines Sur. Her residency will be questioned because she was late in transferring her principal residence which should happen at least one year before the election.
A vaccination PSA would have given the impression that she and Duterte are getting along and soften her image with the public who have disdain for her as evidenced by her dismal approval and trust ratings. Former Senator Antonio Trillanes cut her down to size with the stunt he pulled two weeks ago trying to unseat Robredo at the top of the presientiables list of Opposition coalition 1Sambayan. Trillanes evidently wanted to project the image to the public that he is now the frontrunner.
We are into June already. The opposition will have to start making hard decisions about their election plans. There’s only four months left until the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy. They have to establish a structure for their selection process. They have to meet with coalition partners from the Left. There is going to be horse-trading. But most important is which Presidentiable will join the selection process as envisioned by Antonio Carpio. Would Senator Grace Poe be willing to team up with Leni? Trillanes wants Poe to be his VP. The name of Senator Franklin Drilon has been floated. But after these, who else? Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will not join 1Sambayan. This leaves them with very few options. The Opposition Senate slate will most likely be composed of those who did well enough in 2019. But who are the new faces along with the reelectionists such as Leila De Lima and Risa Hontiveros? Will Joel Villanueva run under 1Sambayan?
Pinoys can be described as malurit ang pag-iisip in the vernacular. This is what the Opposition is exploiting in the vaccine rollout. What they have been doing is similar to that of a baseball pitcher. They are throwing different kind of pitches to keep the administration busy responding to their claims. They change-up the issues from their lineup of mainstays; the South China Sea dispute, the pandemic response, ayuda, Manila Bay dolomite, economic numbers, the National ID, and the Anti-Terror Bill, to name a few. The main purpose is to keep the public pre-occupied so they can buy time. The reality they can’t face is it’s going to be very difficult for them to put up a united front.
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