No Sinovac problem here

By June 21, 2021Random Thoughts

By Leonardo Micua


A REPORT on June 17 by the British news agency Reuters stating that more than 350 Indonesian doctors have contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac sent chills down the spines of many Filipinos.

The reason for this is obvious. Sinovac, sourced out by the country from China either by donation or procured, is the vaccine inoculated on many of our countrymen.

(As we write this piece, another cargo plane from China landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to deliver another 1.5 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine.)

According to the Reuters report, most of the Indonesian doctors that were infected were asymptomatic and are self-isolating at home.  Had we not been previously informed that Sinovac vaccine, although earlier questioned for its lesser efficacy over the other vaccines in the international market, can prevent moderate and severe symptoms of COVID-19?

But here’s more shocking news to the Filipinos: There were dozens of Indonesian recipients of Sinovac vaccine who were symptomatic and hospitalized. Experts say it could be the new Delta variant that hit these Indonesian doctors, but this has yet to be confirmed.

But we believe that unless this variant hits us too, no such clinical catastrophe will happen to those vaccinated with Sinovac in the Philippines. Other than Mayor Brian Lim who was diagnosed with mild COVID-19 symptoms about 20 days after completing his vaccination of Sinovac, there have been no report of a big number of Sinovac recipients so far infected after completing their inoculation.

Our hunch—whether you agree or not— is we are more health conscious than the Indonesians. Why and to what extent? It is because, aside from only wearing surgical mask to ward off the virus, we also wear a face shield on top of the face mask, whether we enter a mall, boarding a public transportation or making a visit at the provincial capitol, markets or hospitals.

To my mind, the face shields is an added layer of protection to all of us, to be worn mandatorily by every Filipino for as long as community transmission continues.

We don’t care if we are the only ones in the world using face shield so long as we are protected from the virus. The use of face masks and face shields combined was being cited by the way as one of the reasons why the disease is finally easing up in the National Capital Region and the four provinces around it.

It is unfortunate that some of our officials now want us to discard face shields just for the simple reason we are the only nationality using a plastic shield on top of our face masks. What’s wrong with that?

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I must confess that I am one of the recipients of the Sinovac jab and completed it last June 2. But I am not worried because despite completing my vaccination, I am exercising all vigilance within my limited means to ward off the virus.

This means limiting my coverage for a while and for this, I had to politely declined to cover the visit of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat in Lingayen that required reporters in the hall to first take antigen test.  

But my other worry is that if I ever make a visit to New Zealand and Australia or any other countries like Saudi Arabia, I may still be required to be quarantined for 14 days, whereas those vaccinated with the western-made vaccine like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and the single dose – Jansen vaccine are exempt from quarantine protocol.  

If I only have a limited budget for a foreign trip, being quarantined in hotels in foreign countries will be an added financial burden. So, I won’t be making any foreign trip till after the pandemic is over.  

This quarantine requirement of countries for those vaccinated with Sinovac is considered a big insult to the Chinese as their vaccine is being treated as second class compared to the vaccines of other advanced countries. 

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By the way, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan, is now awaiting for a final decision in the national level if mandatory wearing of face shields will be withdrawn.

Councilor Dennis Canto, SP chair of the committee on health, reminded the city council that it has an ordinance that penalizes any person found not wearing face shields while in public places.

Of course, if President Duterte will let go of face shields, despite the recommendation of the AITF that it will still be made mandatory when people are in enclosed places, the Dagupan SP will have to withdraw its face shield ordinance, too.

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