Myriad Stories About Vaccines & The Good They Bring

Quick History

Why is vaccine called vaccine? Its root is vaccus, Latin for cow. Cows were widely used since the 1700s as test subjects for early variolation science. British Edward Jenner was a pioneer in early vaccine science, as well as French scientist Louis Pasteur. We know it today as a live, attenuated version of a disease, used to equip our immune systems to fight a disease.

During their time though, the 1880s, vaccination only meant administering cowpox pus into a human being in order to prevent him from contracting smallpox. Smallpox was the dreaded killer, as has been for centuries, it eventually was used as a bioweapon, and decided the wars between the French, British, and early American colonies in the late 1800 to 1900s.

The Chinese, as almost always, did vaccination earlier. The earliest recorded use of variolation, as it was formerly called, was in 1000 BC, by the Emperor K’ang Hsi, who got smallpox as a child, and got his children inoculated.

Early Chinese vaccinations involved scratching dried pustules into the nose, as early as 200 BC to 1000 BC. (photo from historyofvaccines.org)

Cotton Mather, an influential 15th century minister, one who’s had a lifelong interest in medicine, and convinced by his African servant Onesimus, advocated for smallpox inoculation during his time, a move that incurred him popular disapproval.

Vaccines generally help the immune system of our body make antibodies for any bacterial or viral threat. Yes, I am an nurse, and I am pro vaccines. No, it doesn’t turn one into a zombie, nor is it the mark of the beast. I can understand the hesitation owing to the fact that it’s an ongoing study; but the conspiracies can be quite ridiculous.

Modern Dilemma

Fast forward 2020 and 2021, our global dilemma is Covid-19 and it seems here to stay until global immunity is achieved. There have been reports here and there about vaccine apartheid, as gross as it can be, it is not so surprising. Sin is prevalent and endemic, pandemic, and its tale is old as time. There is indeed hope in eradicating a disease, as proved by the eradication of smallpox in 1980. Consequently, it is not a required vaccine in birth anymore.

World Health Organization banner

In reality, the finished Covid19 vaccine’s patents are actually what give ‘big pharma’ their revenue, and sadly, it is what holds back the faster distribution of the successful vaccines globally.

Nevertheless the Bible tells us in Romans, to submit to authorities, within reasonable bounds in that they don’t make us disobey the Lord. The Christians in the biblical Roman era certainly had their fair share of persecution, and they were told by Apostle Paul to submit to them. Jesus even said to bring Caesar what is due him.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Romans 13:1

As of August, in a horrific and tragic twist, the country India remains to be the world’s largest Covid19 vaccine producer, with their Serum Institute of India, based in in Hyderabad; and yet it is facing a major internal shortage of it.

The arrival of the Covid19 vaccine here in the Philippines is what I consider to be a modern day miracle. What a blessing indeed!

Containers of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine arrive on a Chinese military aircraft in Manila, on Feb. 28. Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Our country’s vaccination drive has to be lauded as well, as the vaccination percentage is 13.5% of the whole country’s population. To compare the latest counts in other countries, India has just 4%, Iran 5%, Pakistan 9%, Australia 23%, Hong Kong 41%, and US 51% vaccination rate. The vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez certainly has his work cut out for him.

Vaccination campaign banner of the Department of Health

Like any responsible citizen, I love a good Department of Health FAQ sheet!

Granted, securing these vaccines, and all Covid19 related spending, has put our country into more debt, but it’s certainly worth it, and it’s something that the GDP could possibly handle. I’m no economist, but a simple search revealed that the ballooning debt, all the same, amazingly puts us at a positive debt-to-GDP ratio of 51% (coming from 49%; the bad ratios are 60-70% onwards).

My sisters are in the corporate world. They simply walked in on their scheduled jab (country-Hong Kong), they were in and out in 10 minutes, how efficient! #sanaol

A friend walked in on the vaccination drive here in a local college, and got blessed with a J&J shot; I tried that too, and it didn’t work even if I renewed my Nursing license for that possibility. Nonetheless it was a thrilling chase indeed!

I had to try options too, I went in to the health center to get listed, quite a few times, inquiring here and there on my errand days. I mostly got ignored in one specific Barangay Hall, owing to the fact my scheduled voter’s ID appointment didn’t suit their tastes.

Another friend successfully purchased Moderna for their own family and friends’ shots, it proved pretty effective for them.

In one of my Reformed Homeschooling Facebook groups, a woman commented in one of the threads that it indeed separated their family. Her father didn’t tell them the location of their grandmother’s funeral, because she is not vaccinated.

In the end I got the chance to have a Moderna shot in a vaccination drive last Wednesday, thankfully, and finally! JD, my husband got a Pfizer shot last Thursday. Then we will be back a month later for our second doses. It was an certainly answered prayer! It was definitely not my own merit. I’m an unemployed nurse, housewife, and homeschooling mom, all of which ain’t on the priority list!

A friend funnily quipped about Moderna being sosyal or elitist, haha but I certainly didn’t know and care what I was going to get, I was just gleeful I was getting vaccinated!

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

I actually rested 2 days from homeschool routine; and watched too much Downton Abbey than good for me, JD says I’m addicted, but I question that, haha!

Downton Abbey’s setting, Highclere Castle, UK (Photo by Greg Willson on Unsplash)

All things considered, one thing I find remarkably unfair is the hulabaloo on choosing of brands, seeing as this health crisis has put the world in almost like a war-time state, choosing brands definitely seemed like a trifle.

In Perspective

Even so, I’m blessed to be living in Bohol and to be in a way, stuck in Bohol. I mean, not going out of Bohol for a couple of years or so isn’t so bad. Not bad at all. We are blessed with pristine(now) beaches, falls, hills, and “Marlborough country” rolling landscapes, countless resorts for staycations, all within reach, depending on one’s risk appetite.

With all the daily hubbub in media nowadays, I’ve been longing to put the Covid-19 pandemic death toll in perspective:

  • Smallpox = est. 500 million people died, only in its last 100 years of existence! (Surprising!)
  • Spanish Flu of 1918 = 50 million people
  • World War 1 = 40 million people
  • World War 2 = 75 million people (Hope these wars never happen again! What a lesson!)
  • Covid 19 = 4.4 million people

These are all horrid numbers. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer of the sovereignty and providence of God. Nothing gets past Him, He is doing something purposeful in all of this mess, if only to soften the hearts of people for the gospel.

Nevertheless, I am a firm believer of the sovereignty and providence of God. Nothing gets past Him, He is doing something purposeful in all of this mess, if only to soften the hearts of people for the gospel.

I can totally list a myriad good things that happened during this pandemic! Like:

  • Unprecedented speed at which a vaccine was created
  • Softened hearts for the gospel, that indeed churchplant efforts have sped up instead of slowed down.
  • A global rethinking or prioritization of what matters most
  • Resurgence of new innovations and businesses
  • New and creative ways of meeting even if afar (certainly there’s more that can be added to this list!)

In the end it matters little what I think about the Covid-19 pandemic, economics, vaccines and all. God’s Word stands and it will remain forever.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68

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