That is how one local government press release termed the sudden change of heart of most Baguio seniors.
“BEFORE people had the sense of hesitancy but now there is high demand. People now appear to have a sense of desperation for the vaccines,” said City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo.
We saw on Facebook how some of the senior citizens had to brave up to seven hours to get their first shots.
It was indeed a whiff of relief that the seniors have become desperate for the vaccine.
In the first part of the year, the few seminars that the city did, only a few of the seniors attended.
Maybe it was the lack of accurate information about the vaccines that made them hesitate.
But mostly because the channels of communication were not reaching them.
The city mostly relied on social media and we all know that many of the senior citizens are not into them.
We all thought their children and grandchildren will guide them but then some have been forced by lockdown and social distancing to live away from their younger relatives.
The usual media were also either closed or too general in scope to remind these Baguio senior citizens.
Also, there are so many myths about vaccination that the media and the government would have to tackle.
As we know this hesitancy has been the fault of this government. In their zeal to demonize the dengue vaccine, they caused other vaccines to suffer as a result.
The blind fear they sowed is now going back at them.
Not to mention the weird moves the president has been doing lately. Not only was he advocating stupid and dangerous cures like gasoline, but he was also sowing misinformation about vaccines.
His theory that the vaccines would be cultured among horses is false, for example.
And then when it was time for him to demonstrate that vaccination is safe, he took a vaccine not approved by his own government. It was also unavailable to the public.
The approved vaccine of choice was also unpopular. There were allegations of corruption and insider trading so that the China-developed vaccine became the majority vaccine in the country.
We know it’s a battle of the vaccines and they have media backers waging the war. In that case, China is losing that information battle.
Studies and surveys had been showing that the China-developed vaccine was the least effective and the costliest one. And yet, the government had been procuring and distributing these vaccines all over the country.
And then only last week, we read reports that in Manila one of these deep-freeze vaccines developed by the US finally made it to our shores. News of the precious vaccines making it in one city in Manila caused 6,000 senior citizens to line up for it. And there were only a few hundred available.
Meanwhile back in Baguio, the only available ones are the China-developed vaccine and the British-developed one.
It’s a matter of availability and luck if your area gets which.
And because of the nature of transporting these vaccines makes that choice a last-minute deal.
Because of refrigeration, the supply only arrives in Baguio the night before. And then the whole cache would have to be disposed of in a few days.
As a result, the city would announce the schedule in the early morning of the actual vaccination.
And they have to do it on social media which the senior citizens hardly have access to.
So it’s really a question of hesitancy and desperation. Not something to smile about really but since this is the time of the pandemic, we get what we get.