Hallelujah! I got vaccinated
Getting the precious shot in the arm should not give us a false sense of security. We should be wary of the so-called Peltzman Effect, named after the respected economist, Professor Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago. Basically, the Peltzman Effect states that “people are more likely to engage in risky behavior when security measures are mandated.”
To God be the glory! Finally, I received my first jab of Sinovac after a long, anxious wait. I was waiting for the Astrazeneca vaccine until the DOH and the DFA had cleared Sinovac for senior citizens last Wednesday. I jumped at the opportunity and asked our LGU through its Vaccination operation Center in Cainta, Rizal to include me in the Sinovac list as I’m a senior citizen many times over with various comorbidities.
The medical officer checked my Senior Citizen ID and my maintenance medicines duly prescribed by my attending physician. Voila, I properly belong, no ifs and buts, to the Priority Group A2. Accompanied by my physician daughter, who also drove me to the Cainta One Arena Center first hour in the morning, I was No. 4 in the queue scheduled to receive our first shot of the vaccine. After registration and filling in the forms, a medical professional interviewed me and checked my temperature and BP. After being cleared, I proceeded to the vaccination area. Right after the shot, I went to the monitoring station where my BP, oxygen level and pulse were measured. After getting cleared by the doctor, I was advised to return four weeks later for my second dose and handed my vaccination card. I left for home feeling safe and happy with the thought that our LGU is working efficiently to serve its residents. It was a “jab” well done.
Getting the precious shot in the arm should not give us a false sense of security. We should be wary of the so-called Peltzman Effect, named after the respected economist, Professor Sam Peltzman of the University
of Chicago. Basically, the Peltzman Effect states that “people are more likely to engage in risky behavior when security measures are mandated.” Peltzman cited the seat belt law, which was enacted to reduce the probability for car drivers and passengers to die in a car accident. But this did not actually happen. Instead, people, believing that there was safety in wearing a seat belt, drove a little recklessly causing more accidents and deaths on the road. Thus, well-intentioned government regulations, like mandating the Covid-19 vaccine, impact on people’s behavior because of safety perception resulting in greater risk. What it is telling us is that we should be more responsible and safety conscious after getting the vaccine. We should not lose sight of the fact that the vaccinated number constitutes only a very negligible portion of our population. The vast majority remains unprotected. Just about a million Filipinos have gotten vaccinated, with only a fraction of them receiving two doses. We are still lightyears away from achieving herd immunity. The vaccine is not a talisman that completely immunes us from the lethal effects of the virus. The vaccine is not a panacea to this pandemic and we should not let our guard down.
I am grateful to the LGU of Cainta for the vaccine roll out it is providing to its residents. Cainta is where my family chose to settle after living abroad for many years. It’s my kind of town—small, quiet, and still rustic in some parts—where you can buy the best native kakanin if your palate hankers for Filipino delicacies. No one disputes that it is the bibingka capital of the world.
Cainta lies on the eastern fringes of Metro Manila. It’s a backwater compared to the adjacent Pasig City and the nearby cities of Mandaluyong and Taguig. His Honor, Mayor Kit Nieto, is a young and progressive executive who has transformed the town as a magnet for investors. Travel the stretch of Felix Avenue from Marcos Highway to Ortigas Extension and see for yourself how vastly improved Cainta has become under his leadership. There’s an influx of property developers, and commercial establishments have mushroomed all over the place. In 2016 and 2017, Cainta was chosen as the Most Competitive Municipality among all the first and second class municipalities in the Philippines by the National Competitive Council. It scored high in economic dynamism, infrastructure development and government efficiency and governance. No wonder his constituents have overwhelmingly reelected Nieto in 2016 and 2019. Cainta is now the richest municipality in the entire country with an estimated annual income of P1.5 billion. Unfortunately, Mayor Nieto is now in his last term of office. His case offers the best argument against the maximum term limit. Attending to the health and social welfare of his constituents has been a top priority of Mayor Nieto and his supportive officials. To ensure effective and equitable roll out of the vaccine, the good mayor has set up a team that he leads with Don Mallari as the Project Head. He is ably assisted by Raymond Bolinao and Pijong de la Paz, as registration and venue heads, respectively. Dr. Ed Gonzaga leads the medical team. Close to 40 headcounts man the vaccination center.
Cainta has a total population of 322,128 based on the 2015 census. As of April 9, the total number of registered seniors is 45,000, more or less. Approximately 4,200 have been inoculated since the roll out started three working days ago. Needless to say, the success of the vaccination program depends on the efforts and dedication of the LGU concerned. The national government, however, should provide all the necessary support, most particularly the supply of the vaccine. The deliveries committed by China, UK, India, Russia, Covax and other sources should start coming in to ensure the steady and continuous roll out of our vaccination program. My second dose will be due on May 6, 2021. Will my second Sinovac jab be available despite our government bombarding China with our diplomatic protests over the WPS controversy? Commercial transactions should be honored, instead of being politicized. I trust that the supply of the vaccine will not be weaponized by China for political ends.