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‘Enroll’ the vaccine recipients!

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

I didn’t want to focus on personal matters yesterday that I know would only bring more heartaches and tears, I concentrated on the report involving the media in Hongkong, that I know could have happened to us, if we were not operating under a democratic government. This was about the closing down of Hongkong’s popular newspaper, “The Apple Daily”, that was forced to stop publishing when the government froze its assets. I am sure our own readers also recall when the DAILY STAR also almost stopped publishing, but thank God, not because the government ordered us to do so.

***

This was at the height of the COVID pandemic when we had to let go some of our staffers, and reduce the number of our pages, because, try as we might, we could not earn enough to keep going. But our joint prayers and efforts raved some way for us to keep going,  although, as every reader must have noticed, we had to reduce the number of pages, to also reduce expenses. Somehow, our prayers and the encouragement we keep getting from our faithful readers and supporters, here we are, still gasping, but still breathing too!

***

International reports say the Apple Daily’s office was raided by Hongkong police, who gave as the reason, not journalism, but “national security!” Well, any reason can be given, but I think our Hongkong counterparts should have known better because they knew that the area where they are operating is already part of China, which is not exactly known for absolute press freedom! Well, those are among the risks  people who opt for journalism, that their profession has to face. But if practitioners just stick to what is true, and fair, and defensible, even in a court of law, they can always get by, even  if would be by the proverbial “skin of their teeth”.

***

Good news! Reports coming from Tokyo seem to confirm that the Olympic Games are really on the line, although participation and regulations will be much different  from what they used to be. Athletes  are supposed  to be tested daily for their health condition, i.e. COVID symptoms, should not eat together, but alone, and be seated in the stadium with plastic separators between them. That doesn’t sound like much fun for participants, does it? But I am sure, they are all willing to observe all the new rules, just so they could still have the Olympics, and be able to participate. And we can have fun and entertainment because I am pretty sure the games will be covered by television.

***

But what is this news report saying that some of those who have undergone vaccination still got hit by the COVID? Could it be true that fake versions are being dispensed in our country? I hope our government will find a way to locate and charge those who are guilty of that, and that our judges throw the book at them. This is a very serious matter,  and for those who take advantage of a pandemic by fooling his or her fellowmen, a long period in the clink would be the right penalty  for them!

***

Despite the availability of vaccines, the time has not yet come  for us to take this COVID pandemic for granted. Before, some believed that the disease hit only adults, but lately it has been shown that children, especially adolescents are also vulnerable. Among the countries where this has been reported is Brazil where the virus has been found to have infected and killed children at an alarming rate. So parents must not be complacent even if earlier had been assuring them. And don’t forget that new variants of the disease continues cropping up.

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I think President Duterte must have been exasperated  by reports that some people still refuse to undergo vaccination. I heard him being quoted on TV as having said that Pinoys should “get vaccinated, or go to jail!”. I hope nobody challenges him by asking if there is such a law prescribing that. Indeed, I agree that unvaccinated ones who get infected are threats to others, but would that merit imprisonment? Si Presidente naman!

***

Is it true that the United States is giving 800,000 doses of anti COVID vaccines to the Philippines next month? Whoever will be in charge of dispensing it must prepare themselves for “pilas” winding around several streets! A suggestion: why don’t the Health Department people already determine where the vaccines will be sent and inventory, or “enroll” the people who want  to be inoculated? That way, they will avoid  crowding and maybe even riots among the willing.*

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