Manila area and Bulacan are in a full shut down, but we are in a modified shut down.
I have to wear both a mask and a face shield to walk the dog, even though I usually am not within ten feet of others.
The registration here for voting etc. has stopped, since it meant you had to sit outside the office until it was your turn. The small kiosks selling face shields, food, and various other things in the parking lot of the old city hall are still up however.
The Bank has limited hours.
this is bad: We had recently reopened (with masks and distancing) so people again were getting paid. Now they are out of work again.
The Mayor is planning food aid to those affected by the virus:
The epidemic has flared up again alas:
so where are the vaccines?
Duterte says that the private sector can now import their own vaccines.
Well, good, except that it will mean that some will just give out fake vaccine shots, of course, to make money.
Corruption kills. Duterte blames other countries for the problem in getting vaccines, but since the government has been the reason we didn't get the Pfizer vaccine and delaying the importation of other vaccines, it does make one wonder.
Indeed, one commenter noted that the government was the barrier to private entities who wanted to import the vaccines: and that this could have been allowed as early as last November.
The Inquirer had an editorial asking that the private sector be allowed to help import the vaccine last January.
The business sector is again asking if they can do their own importation and give the vaccine to their employees.
so what is the hold up?
It comes down to money: The government doesn't want to agree to pay for those who get side effects of the vaccine.
So better 5 million unemployed, a near economic collapse and a couple thousand dead rather than agree to pay compensation for side effects of an "experimental" vaccine.
So the Pfizer deal in January that fell through and it means not allowing the private sector to buy and give out vaccines to their employees:
UA (emergency use authorization), hindi papayag ang pharma companies na walang indemnification… it protects the pharmaceutical company and the private sector as well,” said Concepcion. The indemnification is a guarantee that the Philippine government will pay compensation in case the vaccination has adverse consequences.This Rappler article from February explains goes into detail about the liability question that is behind the delay.
The reason why indemnification funds or programs are required of countries is because vaccines being used worldwide are still under emergency use authorization (EUA), with only limited short-term data available on the full effects that could arise from receiving a shot.
Under indemnification programs, governments agree that distributing entities like COVAX, along with vaccine manufacturers, will not be held liable for unexpected adverse events. This is a risk governments absorb during the pandemic when granting vaccines emergency use approval.
So how did the Chinese vaccine end up being the only one being used? Maybe because the social media anti vaxx hysteria is about the western vaccines, not the Chinese vaccines. Hmm... wonder why.
And wonder why the Government approved to cover the side effects of the Chinese vaccine, which only stops half the cases, while dragging their feet in doing the paper work for the western and UN vaccines? Place conspiracy theory here.
It's not that the Chinese vaccine doesn't have a significant rate of side effects, but hey, if you die after the shot, they will claim you died of something else, (just like it is being claimed for the western vaccines).
Ironically, the Chinese government illegally gave 100 000 of their own citizens working here the vaccine late last year, and they set up their own clinics to treat their sick. (I wonder if they don't trust Philippines clinics, or if it might be because it's better to treat people who don't speak the local language in a clinic where patients can be treated by those from their own country who speak their language).
WaPost article from January about the illegal vaccines being given in the Chinese community here (and notes the Phil military and some big shots got shots too).
and notes that China is using "vaccine diplomacy" in many poor countries.
And at least one comment at the Inquirer wonders why the Chinese vaccine is being allowed but paper work delays mean the other vaccines haven't come (the gov't of course insists it is the evil western countries who won't let the vaccines come here, just ignore the deals that fell through because the paperwork over who pays for side effects wasn't done).
Translation: better dead than sued.
Mortality might be one to five out of a hundred for the disease, but 2000 out of 75 million for the shot, but guess which one makes the headlines?
There is a lot of foot dragging to ensure people be kept safe, and if a lot more die for lack of a vaccine, well it's not their fault.
We see this mindset with medicines that might or might not work to save lives.
the WHO is discouraging another cheap drug that seems to both prevent and treat Covid if given early:
According to this article, there if a planned "double blind" study going to be used in the Philippines, but since there is no approved "human" version, hey don't dare use the Ivermectin approved for animals.
The dirty little secret: the problem with "double blind" studies are that they often compare "apples and oranges": The statistics are often from patients who are critical and in the hospital: But as I have pointed out, other anti virals for influenza and for Herpes infections have to be started early to work, and many people don't seek a doctor's help early on, and of course the tests might not show positive early in the infection (which is why international travelers who tested negative are continuing to spread the disease all over)
If there was an approved package saying "start this if you think you have covid symptoms", as is being done in some places in India, probably thousands of lives would be saved, but never mind.
About the problem of lawsuits for side effects: One thing you have to realize is that here in the Third world, corruption is rampant, and the government here is dubious about vaccines with side effects after the Dengue vaccine scandal.
A poor person who gets sick after getting the shot will think he got sick from the shot, even if he is suffering from another infection or illness. And hey, if that means they can get money, why not?
In medicine, we used to call these cases the "green poultice" treatment: That injuries awaiting compensation won't get better until the court case is settled. So if one allows compensation for side effects, hey, a lot of people who get ordinary side effects will notice them more. And this doesn't include of course the possibility of fraudulent claims.
add to this the "anti vaxx" hysteria, and you have a perfect storm.
heck, even Biden's new health chief is now hysterical on youtube about the epidemic. WTF? Get a back bone lady: This is not about your angst. Just the facts, ma'am.
She seems to be saying if you evil Christian Republicans who refuse to wear masks are to blame: without mentioning the problem of the new Brazilian strain of the virus which is both more infectious and possibly more lethal than previous strains.
The Brazilian strain of covid is now in the Philippines, and there is a worry that it might be partly to blame for the latest outbreak.
the Brazil strain is also causing a terrible outbreak in several Latin American countries: and as a doctor, I worry that it will be spread to the US via those illegally crossing the border to seek a newer life in the USA.
Right now, over 100 thousand illegal entries from Central American, some of whom are covid positive and being released into the local communities.
One wonders how many carry the new more infectious and more lethal Brazilian strain of the virus.
But the vaccines do protect you against them, so don't worry.
Now, if we could only get the shots here.
Because unlike China, the US is not arranging for their citizens to get the vaccine. Heck, the local VA hospital in Manila has limited treatments to veterans, and won't test you. But nothing on their website about Covid shots. LINK
and the Embassy continues to say: no shots for you, Joe.
The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. U.S. Veterans currently receiving healthcare benefits from the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic will continue to receive e-mail updates about COVID-19 vaccinations directly from the VA Clinic.
yes, if you are a disabled veteran, you are still waiting for the email to say if you can get a shot.
One other note:
I understand why these people are coming to America. If I lived in a hell hole with crime and few economic opportunities, and heard that the US border would be open to all comers, I would have packed my bags and started hitch hiking north too: hoping to get in before someone in the government realizes it was a mistake and recloses the border.
But you know, this could be done in a better fashion by open visas for people who want jobs, and then allowing them to take approved buses or planes to enter the USA to resettle them, using military bases for housing if they need to find a place for them to stay.
They did this for the Vietnamese refugees years ago, and during a similar influx during the Mariel boat lift.
Many of these refugees had family members or friends in the USA, and who provided them a place to stay. One suspects many of today's refugees could similarly be settled with help of families or by churches who would sponsor them until they found a job.
But never mind. The real scandal is that no one seemed to be prepared for the influx.
By the way, did I mention my son is visiting his wife's mother in Mexico? His wife and mother are dual citizens, thanks to President Regan's amnesty. And their children are full Americans who have jobs in the USA.
Which explains the hysteria of Biden's health expert (who for some reason preferred to condemn Trumpie's minions instead of telling us about where this latest outbreak is coming from ).