Three mothers

What would Mama say? It’s a question I would frequently hear from our four children. They don’t mean: How their mother would react to something, but how she would interpret a situation or problem with her remarkable clear-mindedness, without passing judgment or assigning blame or telling them what to do. It is what they most … Read more

The sad story of our delayed vaccine rollout

At the virtual vaccine summit organized the other day by the country’s leading business groups, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told participants: “We are very confident that the country will be able to achieve herd containment within this year with the help of the private sector, with the inoculation of 50 to 70 million … Read more

Generosity: The will to give

So much has been written about the Maginhawa Community Pantry, an austere project whose charisma has, within one week, inspired countless replications all over the country. One more brief note about it may not shed further light on its magic. But it may, hopefully, resolve some of the vague uneasiness we feel during this pandemic. … Read more

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