What a day. After a long process and some help from the people who work in Malay, Aklan, Philippines, Theo and I are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
I feel relieved Theo will have some protection. Only those who know him best know he has had a problem with his sinuses his entire life. He had surgery a few decades ago. It helped, but he still has issues. He had such a problem at the beginning of 2021 that we had to regionally travel to get a CT scan of his head.
But that’s his story to tell, if he wants to tell it.
This story is about what it’s like to get vaccinated in a foreign country during a pandemic that seems to never end.
Jabs in the Philippines
Months ago, I read the national rollout plan. First, health care workers (A1) and elderly (A2). Then people with other diseases and health issues (A3, and so on), and then first responders. Next, people who work with the public in essential businesses. These ‘A’ groups are followed by everyone else, by age, in ‘B’ and ‘C’ groups.
With my continued breast cancer meds, and an enlarged lymph node that is a tad concerning, and with Theo’s sinus issue, we qualified in the A3 group because we had the medical documentation to prove our conditions.
Our unique problem
Our problem has been the type of vaccination offered. The online registration doesn’t allow one to “pick their vaccine” – but we cannot use the Sinovac if we travel to European countries, or other countries because it’s not accepted by all countries.
It’s also possible, with the way things are going back in the U.S., that only approved American shots might be accepted. So we waited. And waited and waited.
AstraZeneca’s shots are sometimes available here, but again, they might not be accepted by America if vaccinations become mandatory. And we don’t want two experimental vaccines.
Also, Sinovac and AstraZeneca jabs are sometimes paid for by the Philippine government. We didn’t want to take a shot meant for a Filipino.
But, Janssen jabs by Johnson and Johnson were donated to the Philippines by the American government. I read an ‘official’ news story (by the national government) a few weeks ago that Aklan, this province, was set to get 15,000 Johnson and Johnson shots.
We have, in a sense, already paid for the Janssen vaccines. (Note to our Philippine readers: Americans still have to pay taxes even when they are not in the country all year.)
Pfizer and Moderna are not coming here anytime soon, if ever. The municipality cannot afford the refrigeration system for subzero storage.
Janssen it was.
Kind people who work for Malay Municipality helped guide us through the registration process.
We have lived in Malay since March 16, 2020. I have seen how the local government units (LGU) work. I’ve had to get travel passes and so I’ve had some interaction with LGU workers.
The workers at the vaccination site impressed me.
Every person I encountered was professional and efficient – from registration to health screening, from jab counseling to the injection station, and the follow up care section.
A few times I needed a translator, which was no problem at all.
After all of those steps in an open-air community center, which took about three hours, we were jabbed and now have our vax cards. We will laminate the cards, and hang on to them so that whenever we might travel again, we’ll be good to go.
In the meantime, we will continue wearing masks and taking precautions, because it’s the right thing to do.
Last thing – the word “resbakuna” was all over the signs And documents at the vaccination site. It’s not in Google translate. I asked someone what it means. She told me, “vaccination campaign.”
So the slogan “resbakuna kasangga ng bida” sort of means ‘vaccination campaign heroes’.
As always, trudge the road to happy destiny, and more serenity!
Life is Now.
Thanks for reading, “Earth Vagabonds get jabs in the Philippines.”
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