Fear of the needle

Published January 14, 2021, 12:55 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. That’s all people can talk about. The what (brands), where (to get it), how (logistics, distribution), why not (choice of brand), and when. Starting February (let’s hope not Feb. 29) you get Sinovac, but wait for July to choose your vax.

The row is now centered on the right of the people to choose their vaccine versus the expected “chaos” should they opt to be choosy. The question appears moot and academic because only Sinovac, said to be an expensive brand, will be the first to arrive, followed in July by six others. In other words, wait to make your choice. This, while local governments are touting their signed-and-sealed deals with different pharmaceutical companies. The private sector is standing by to weigh in on their methods of procurement – from government? Oh, dear.

A worrisome note is supplied by a survey showing 91 percent of Filipino adults are afraid of being vaccinated. The 9 percent who are willing to be injected should not be a problem as far as the number and availability of doses goes, that elusive and illusive herd immunity be damned. WHO sings a sad song: Herd immunity won’t happen this year. To balance things, another WHO scientist paid tribute to the scientists who produced a vaccine “in under a year” when it used to take three years. Who knows, this shortened period has contributed to an unspoken fear.

There’s the fear of COVID-19 and there’s the fear lingering from Dengvaxia of 2015 vintage. There’s the fear of the needle per se, fear of allergies and other reactions. That medical and pharma experts still don’t know enough about the virus. Lastly, that a newly trained batch of vaccinators could possibly lack experience.

It doesn’t help that Pope Francis, the Queen of England, and the incoming President of the United States have bravely rolled up their sleeves to receive their shot. (But if Hyun Bin and Song Ye-Jin followed in the footsteps of the three VVIPs, maybe you’d be more easily convinced?)

Through the fog of doubts and questions, it helps to remember what CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta told Stephen Colbert: After you’ve been vaccinated, you should continue wearing your face mask for your own protection.