Taming the COVID Lion

Published January 31, 2021, 2:36 PM

by Deedee Siytangco


In protecting oneself, others are protected;

In protecting others, oneself is protected.

—Gautama Buddha     

In the eagerness to get life back on track and regain human connections lost due to Covid-19, vaccination has been on everyone’s minds. The discourse has involved everything from its medical and scientific foundations, socio-economic implications, national inoculation plans and programs, and sadly (as expected?) graft and corruption surrounding its acquisition.

Ultimately, I believe that the matter on vaccines will rest firmly on choice. Will I choose to get myself and my family vaccinated? If so, which brand should I go for?

This is especially relevant to senior citizens like myself, who are identified as among the most vulnerable demographic in terms of developing severe symptoms. I hope that readers can go over this last sentence again because its nuanced phrasing reflects a whole new perspective that I recently discerned about vaccination.

I strongly suggest watching the presentation of Dr. Edsel Salvana, MD to Congress, available on YouTube. As the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of Philippines Manila’s National Institute of Health, his credibility and expertise are beyond question.

Dr. Ed makes the all-important points that the real value of a vaccine is not to prevent someone from catching the virus—no vaccine in the world indicates complete immunity—but to prevent severe symptoms from developing. In other words, and Dr. Ed emphasizes that if a vaccinated person catches Covid-19 but does not exhibit any serious symptoms, “walang sintomas, o parang sipon (no symptoms except similar to cold),” then the vaccine did a good job.

The doctor visually presents his case as a picture of a lion and kitten. With the lion on the loose, the public should concern itself less with killing the lion or getting a shot that will make them strong enough to defeat it in a head-to-head battle. Instead, we should focus on something that will turn the lion into a small and generally harmless kitten. Yes, kittens can still give you minor scratches and nicks, but for the most part, even the elderly and the physically weak can handle them.

Despite the overt simplicity of this illustration, it carries a lot of significance. Up to this point, the public has been lost in a quagmire of figures, percentages, and statistics regarding vaccine efficacy, to the point that most of us refuse to listen anymore. Part of the problem lies in the fact that we have not been asking the right question. Essentially, the real question again, especially for frontliners and seniors like myself, is this: “Which vaccine has a proven, real-world, field-tested track record of preventing serious symptoms of Covid-19?” That’s it, full stop.

Dr. Ed identifies them as AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac. It bears noting that, despite some negative impressions and arbitrary distrust for Chinese-made products, the Sinovac vaccine has the most convincing credentials. The recently-concluded Sinovac trial in Brazil, for example, is currently the only publicly-disclosed Phase 3 clinical trial where 100 percent of the participants were actual healthcare workers actively working in hospitals. The vaccine protected all 12,476 of them from developing any serious symptoms. The same results were recorded in Turkey as well.

Those are claimed to be factual, verifiable, per reviewed results. I’m not kitten (kidding), and neither am I lion (lying). I suggest you check it out and satisfy your thirst for the truth. Give me your feedback too, dear readers! 

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Another topic of great interest is the first death anniversary of healing priest Fr. Fernando M. Suarez, on Feb. 4. His motto in life and his priesthood was “I Serve,” and he lived this out in his brief lifetime.

The community that Fr. Suarez founded, the Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor, is based in Iling, Oriental Mindoro. He has devotees from all over the Philippines from Davao, Cebu, Manila, Batangas, and around the world.

In India Fr. Suarez was a revered priest healer and was invited to start a community there. He touched countless lives all over the world and brought them closer to Jesus through his outreach and healing ministry. He also had millions of followers on his TV masses and in various places here and abroad. He was received like a rock star.

Fr. Suarez is with his Creator in heaven now, but the MMM Foundation through its new head, Fr. Jess Shannon vow to continue his ministry and live his simple way of service. There will be a memorial mass on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. at his gravesite in Botong, Batangas, his hometown. Another memorial mass will be held on Feb. 7 at the same site and time. The different communities all over the country will have similar memorial masses and outreach ministries too. Let us remember him with love and gratitude.