Heard It Through the GripeVine: Our New Abnormal
There’s an old proverb, if I may paraphrase, that says something about how it may be easy to lead a horse to water, but it’s an altogether different matter to make the horse drink. I was reminded of this as I read about how the pediatric COVID vaccines had arrived, and that children ages 5-11 were now eligible to be “jabbed.” So yes, these Pfizer vaccines are now available for that segment of our population; but if there’s one thing I clearly recall from helping raise three boys, it’s how at that age, they hated having to visit their doctor for their annual vaccination shots.
It would be a yearly ordeal, involve a lot of bargaining and/or crying. Plus I fully understood where they were coming from, as while I don’t recall putting up that much of a struggle myself, I have many adult friends who to this day, are fearful of needles and will try and avoid them at any cost. So for me, the nagging question would be how easy would it be to get these kids to actually get their shots – beyond the novelty for some, of finally getting out of the house, and heading to the mall.
I say “mall” because if there’s one thing I can truly commend, it’s how SM Supermalls has taken the lead, coordinated and collaborated with the DOH and their respective LGU’s, and have converted their SMX “vaccination centers” into welcoming, virtual playgrounds for these children. It’s made the task of the accompanying parents that much easier, keeping the kids distracted and enjoying themselves, up to that point when they have to get their jab.
It’s more than just putting up decor, and filling up the space with friendly signages and party paraphernalia; SM Supermalls and the LGU’s have gone the extra mile, at their expense, to make this a different experience for the children. Cosplay performers, games and activities; there was no end to how SM Supermalls and the LGU’s were out to make it as conducive an environment as possible, to help distract the children from the task at hand.
Over at SM Aura, more than 500 kids were vaccinated the first day, and I understand that more than 9,000 children have already been registered. That’s all encouraging, but I really hope the parents all over Metro Manila take full advantage of the opportunity to get their children “jabbed.” There’s enough being written on a regular basis about how objective, third party observers are bewailing the state of education here in the Philippines since the pandemic begun, and since online classes became the norm.
Parents complain about how face to face classes haven’t recommenced. But in order to do that with public health safety taken into consideration, a significant percentage of these five-11 year olds have to be vaccinated. So as a parent, you can’t really be griping about the situation, if you’re not making an effort to make your children part of the solution. To complain about why only now the vaccinations are here, doesn’t solve anything.
Others still question the efficacy and safety of these vaccines, when Science and Medicine have already made their case, time and time again. For these “others,” it’s not even about reasoning with them, or convincing them that their anti-vaxx position may be wrong. If they want to hold on to these opinions, they just have to live with their decisions. But what we’re talking about now are the children, and how the vast majority of parents want their children to reconnect to a semblance of normalcy, with health and safety measures in place.
The pediatric vaccines are being rolled out right now, SM Supermalls has joined hands with the DOH and LGU’s to make access to these vaccines convenient and accessible across several of their strategically located malls. Together, they have organized and instituted measures to make the vaccination centers as kid-friendly as possible. We can’t really ask for more at this point, and the ball is clearly in the court of the parents.