The promise of a vaccine

We are upbeat over reports the Philippines, whacked by the coronavirus 2019 pandemic— with at least 413,000 infections and 8,000 deaths—may have access to the COVID vaccine before long.

The promise of a vaccine

A biotech firm there—Moderna—has announced its drug against the COVID-19 disease is almost 95 percent effective, following a clinical trial of more than 30,000 participants.

Only last week, American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech also said their vaccine was 90 percent effective.

No less than Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the Philippines, struggling under the infections and the anxiety of hundreds of thousands in urban and rural areas, that Philippines had “firm commitments from the United States... that we will have access to COVID vaccines that may be developed in the United States.”

We are not predicting any timeline when the vaccines will be physically available and accessible to the population, even in face of this cheerful bit of news.

It may take some time yet before the vaccines may be available to the general public, without suggesting any rungs on the economic strata, even as Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has said up to P150 billion should be earmarked for COVID-19 vaccines in the unprogrammed funds under the P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021.

Experts have said 60 percent of the 110 million population should be vaccinated to generate “herd immunity.”

In the meantime, we should continue to observe the health protocols authorities have imposed to check the spread of COVID-19, particularly now that the Yuletide is just three weeks away, with nearly unchecked celebrations left and right.

For all workers, regardless of specific exposure risks, reminders below remain timely and an excellent practice to:

• Frequently wash one’s hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, one should use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.

• Avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Practice good respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home if sick.

• Recognize personal risk factors. Authorities say certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.

It has been a long and difficult struggle. Recent developments have given us hope that the end in sight may be near, but we must be prepared to tough it out against this dreaded virus for however long it takes.

Topics: coronavirus 2019 pandemic , vaccine , Moderna , Ralph Recto
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