Vaccine wait

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EDITORIAL

Good news from the two studies on the development of a coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine comes from two studies published in The Lancet medical journal that appear to show positive progress in the quest to inoculate the world from the virus.

One trial among more than 1,000 adults in Britain found that a vaccine induced “strong antibody and T cell immune responses” against the coronavirus while a separate trial in China involving more than 500 people showed most had developed widespread antibody immune response.

The continued progress bodes well for the human race that needs an effective vaccine to be developed, tested, validated, manufactured and deployed post haste.

Seven months after COVID-19 was first identified in China, it has since killed more than 600,000 people worldwide, battered economies and continues to raise growing alarm over many government’s inability to control its spread. In the Philippines where one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns have failed to contain COVID-19, our leaders have resorted to looking to a vaccine as the proverbial silver bullet that can save this country and their careers.

The Philippine Senate is aching to fund in the proposed 2021 budget the purchase of any commercially available COVID-19 vaccine by then. With cases and infections still rising after three months of hard lockdowns and quarantines, our heavily armed security forces have made little headway in flattening the so-called curve. At this point, it has become painfully clear that the earlier a vaccine can be made available, the better it is for Filipinos.

We can pin our hopes on a vaccine but there is still much that can be done to protect the health and welfare of Filipinos as well as safely jump start the stagnating economy. Despite unproven claims by government officials itching to pass blame to the people, Filipinos have been cooperating with the health and safety protocols. Improvements in mass testing, contact tracing, and upgrading the healthcare system’s capacity and capability can still be done whilst waiting for a vaccine.

Let’s not pin all our hopes on one solution that doesn’t even have a definite timeline for arrival yet.*

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October 2020
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