By Alex P. Vidal
“Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them. It’s a simple message parents need to keep hearing.”—Jeffrey Kluger
REELING from pressures and being banned from transport services, some anti-vaxxers have used social media to “ask for your support and understanding…” insisting that “our rights and freedom are being violated.”
At least four anti-vaxxers from Iloilo have requested us through private messages to “please help us disseminate our cause in order to protect us from harassment and discrimination.”
Ramil, an event organizer from Bo. Obrero, Lapuz, Iloilo City, who is not a doctor, protested in local dialect: “They don’t listen to us. Covid is a myth meant to control, confuse, and strike fear in the hearts of the people. Vaccination is not the answer; it’s not the solution to the pandemic. On the other hand, vaccination will endanger our lives if we have medical history that doesn’t jibe with vaccination.”
“Only people in the media can help us spread the real and true story behind the spread of Covid and this so-called Omicron,” submitted Rosanna, a single mother and campaign worker of a presidential candidate from the City Proper.
“It is not true that if we vaccinate we will be protected from the pandemic. Vaccinations are part of a global business and those who push for it are the ones who benefit most like Bill Gates,” added Rosanna, who also doesn’t have any expertise or background on medical matters.
“Ginigipit kami. Ngaa kami lang? Ngaa gina pilit gid kami magpa-vaccine bisan indi fit sa amon gina batyag (We are being pressured. We are being forced to get a vaccine even if it is not the answer to what we feel),” bewailed Erlinda, 49, a city hall employee.
The anti-vaxxers have been sending links of articles and videos to friends and relatives that “explain everything” to support their “predicament” in private messages.
“Diri lang nila kami maintindihan (These are the only pieces of information that will make them understand us) if they care to read the links and spare a time to watch the videos,” Ramil insisted. “The authorities are panicking; we are panicking, too, because the restrictions and bans like using the public transport system are making life difficult for us.”
They rued that they were being attacked by “bigots” who have developed “deep animosity” toward them because of their stand on the vaccination.
Ramil and Erlinda admitted they are fighting an uphill battle.
“Many of our relatives and friends don’t believe us and, in fact, have ignored us. Some of them argued with us angrily as if we were just inventing stories that aren’t true,” Erlinda complained in Hiligaynon.
Meanwhile, writer Michael Hiltzik admits that among all the ways that COVID-19 affects our lives, the pandemic confronts us with a profound moral dilemma: How should we react to the deaths of the unvaccinated?
Hiltzik added: “On the one hand, a hallmark of civilized thought is the sense that every life is precious. On the other, those who have deliberately flouted sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk to others, and end up in the hospital or the grave can be viewed as receiving their just deserts.”
That’s even more true of those who not only refused the vaccine for themselves, but publicly advocated that others do so.
It has become common online and in social media for vaccine refusers and anti-vaccine advocates to become the target of ridicule after they come down with COVID-19 and especially if they die from it.
“Paano naman ang rights sang mga victims of Covid? (How about the rights of the Covid victims),” asked Charina, wife of a medical practitioner in Iloilo City, who was once affected by an extended lockdown when she was in New York.
“What they are spreading are false informations from unreliable sources and poisonous internet links with no scientific explanation and they expect us intelligent people to believe them? O c’mon,” Charina concluded.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)