Vaccine diplomacy

One can’t help feeling resentful when one thinks about it. Here we are today, having to make do with a vaccine whose reported efficacy is the lowest among all vaccines, prodded only by the thought that “the best vaccine is the one that is available.” In a desperate situation, this mantra has become more persuasive. … Read more

Ivermectin’s counterfactual appeal

Defying authoritative scientific voices attesting to its uselessness as a cure or prophylactic against COVID-19, a good number of Filipinos are turning to the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as an answer to the coronavirus. A cursory look at the profile of its advocates (e.g., in chat groups) would immediately tell us that these are not ignorant … Read more

Pigafetta and the encounter of cultures

In 1982, upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez delivered an eloquent acceptance speech before a largely European audience. I will quote from this speech at length because it begins ominously with a reference to the chronicles of Antonio Pigafetta, who was with Ferdinand Magellan in that historic voyage … Read more

Behind vaccine hesitancy

The latest Pulse Asia findings on Filipinos’ attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccines, though not unexpected, still must have come as a surprise to those in charge of the vaccine rollout. Released last Friday, when the country registered its highest number of new coronavirus cases per day at almost 10,000, the results showed that only 16 … Read more

Vaccine waste in the midst of scarcity

It’s a problem that we have not given much thought to yet, as we anxiously await the arrival of the bulk of the COVID-19 vaccines. But, if the issues that cropped up in the initial weeks of the vaccine rollout in other countries are instructive at all, we should brace for what may be one … Read more

The race to vaccinate

Experts of the current pandemic are basically looking at two things at the moment. The first is the emergence of alarming new variants of the coronavirus that are capable of sidestepping the immunity provided by vaccines and natural infection. The second is the speed at which vaccines must be distributed to the largest number of … Read more

Viruses, variants, and vaccines

Almost one year has quickly passed since the government imposed a general lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in Wuhan, China. In our country alone, the virus has infected over half a million people and killed more than 12,000. And these are only the official figures. The actual numbers are … Read more

Inequality and exclusion in the vaccine rollout

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out in bold relief the inequalities that set nations and social classes apart. By the sheer magnitude of resources at their disposal, a few will endure this plague better than others. The vast majority, in contrast, are not only less equipped to adapt; they will also find themselves increasingly excluded … Read more

Edsa: 35 years later

This coming week, the nation marks the 35th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship and installed Cory Aquino to the presidency. This dramatic political event led to the writing of a new constitution that the Filipino people ratified in a nationwide plebiscite on Feb. 2, 1987, barely a year … Read more

Which vaccine?

Being in my 70s, with underlying health issues typical for my age, I have decided that the one thing I should resolutely avoid at this time is to be hospitalized for COVID-19. I have seen enough of what oxygen deficit does to a person’s breathing to dread this condition, far more than pain itself. This … Read more