COVID-19 vaccine wars and jukebox politics
A vicious geopolitical information war is raging in the world’s fight against COVID-19.
Western vaccines, particularly Pfizer-Biontech, pushed by the US government, with Moderna, Astrazeneca pitted against Chinese vaccines, namely Sinovac’s Coronavac and Sinopharma’s BBIBP-CorV.
Today, international mainstream and social media are bombarded by various claims, contradictions and news from these vaccine companies and their lobby groups.
With trillions and trillions of Euro and dollar contract negotiations, jukebox politicians, mercenary doctors, bogus study groups and even media networks are discombobulating in pushing their client’s vaccine agenda.
Our government allocated P82.5-B or over $2-B contracts plus billion pesos more from LGUs and private companies. Some are already mentioning ‘kick-vacs’ in meetings with highly visible foreign vaccine representatives around town. And mind you, who are the Filipino partners of these vaccines? Who are the fixers closing deals left and right?
No wonder, highly visible legislators, government, private functionaries and even Malacanang personalities are acting like vaccine salespeople. Mayors and governors also joined, some perhaps for ‘commissions’ for their reelection. They are on all media platforms “orchestrated” to the delight of their vaccine benefactors.
But we Pinoys are not stupid as these sycophants think we are. Because of mixed signals, we have today a growing distrust on all COVID-19 vaccinations, even as the total cases zoomed past 500,000 last Sunday.
In the SWS September 2020 survey, 66 percent of Pinoys agreed to vaccination, 31 percent against and 3 percent undecided. Three months later, Pulse Asia noted just 32 percent of Pinoys favoring vaccination, 47 percent against and 21 percent undecided. If both are accurate, this is a very large drop, about 34 percent of Pinoys changed their minds and now dislikes vaccination. Why did this happen?
On efficacies, Pfizer Biontech has a 95 percent score compared to Sinovac’s Coronavac with secretive and vacillating numbers of 50.4 percent in Brazil and 91.1 percent in Turkey.
On side effects, New York Post reported the death of 23 nursing patients (13 are seniors) in Norway within days of receiving their first dose of Pfizer Biontech vaccine. The company is “still working” with the Norwegian Medicines agency to gather all information. Prior to these, a Miami doctor reportedly died of brain hemorrhage 16 days after taking the Pfizer vaccine.
On the other hand, Sinovac and Sinopharm are still unfinished with their clinical trials. In Brazil, a clinical participant of Sinovac died in November but this was later clarified as suicide. And about ten years ago, Sinovac was accused of bribing a senior Chinese drug regulator to approve its vaccine, the guy was later jailed in 2017. This news pushed our local DOH-FDA to declare repetitiously that they cannot be bribed by Sinovac.
These swirling informations about leading vaccine’ problems’ created serious doubts on our people’s minds. While nearby Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil began vaccinating, the present administration is still quarreling with its noisy critics, moving furtively on their still unnamed preference.
Which vaccine, do you think, will win the biggest chunk of the country’s $2-B contract? The US pushed Pfizer-Biontech or the Chinese pushed Sinovac?
Realistically, it is a very difficult choice to make, with millions of Pinoy lives at stake.
I remember in Homer’s mythology, the hero Odysseus, who had the dilemma of facing both the hydra Scylla and sea monster Charybdis whirlpool at a narrow strait. He knew that some or all of his sailors will be killed in both choices.
Now, President Duterte is in the same situation, and whether to please or displease China or America. And quite sadly, we, the people, can only watch this. We still dream for ‘zero corruption’ and at the same time, pray for fewer dead Filipinos from these vaccines.
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