BETING DOLOR: To jab or not to jab

We Filipinos still prefer to “Tagalize” English words instead of using or creating a Filipino word to describe new fads.

The most recent word that’s being widely used nowadays is “baksin” which takes the place of vaccine, of course.

When calling each other or meeting over Zoom, Pinoys will invariably ask, “Nagpa-baksin ka na ba?” which translates to “Have you been vaccinated yet?”

As an aside, the app that spread like wildfire last year is pronounced as “soom” by some, out of pure laziness. Pinoys generally dislike pronouncing anything with the letter Z correctly.

I had just gotten used to using Skype when szoom (ha-ha) came out of nowhere, but it was fine. It’s easy to use and I’m sure whoever invented it made gazillions overnight.

But back to baksins, or vaccines. Sorry. My doctor friends don’t ask if we’ve been vaccinated, but instead ask if we’ve been jabbed. Asking if you’ve been jabbed is easier than asking if you’ve been vaccinated. One syllable beats four any day of the week, right?

Vaccines remain a topic of conversation for the simple reason that the government has done a terrible job – I nearly said jab — of importing and distributing the available vaccines. So far, the most widely available vaccines hereabouts are the two brands made in China.

I told myself early on that I would never, ever have myself jabbed with the Chinese vaccines as a matter of principle. But since so many of my friends and relatives have been vaccinated with Sinovac or Sinopharm, I began to have second thoughts, but am still balking at the idea. In the vernacular, “Sino ba sila?

(I appear to be in a good mood, huh? Or maybe the extreme summer heat has broiled my brains.)

I joined the informal organization that calls for a boycott of anything made in China, by the way. As long as Chinese ships pretending to be fishing vessels but which are actually military in nature enter Philippine waters, I refuse to buy anything made in China. Made in Taiwan is exempt, of course.

Anyway, I had read that Makati City, where I live, was using non-Chinese vaccines so I decided to give it a go. A friend who is a barangay official told me that I had to go online and register to get my jabbing schedule.

I tried. And tried. And tried.

I must have tried at least 50 times, and when I did manage to get through and submit my application, the last step would always be my waterloo. Every time I pressed send, nothing would happen.

After what was possibly my 51st attempt, I gave up. I decided that I would rather pay for my vaccine than risk having a stroke out of sheer frustration.

I asked around, and guess what? No hospital or clinic had vaccines for sale to the public. Even a relative who is an executive at one of the biggest hospitals in the metropolis told me he couldn’t accommodate my request to pay for a shot, which is a better word than jab I think.

Only frontliners could get shot or jabbed or vaccinated, he said. There was still an insufficient supply for mere mortals like myself.

He said he would call me when new stocks were available, which would be around June or July, at the earliest. Or maybe August or September.

So that was that. I would still have to avoid going out whenever possible. And I would continue to wear a mask and face shield every time I stepped out.

In the meantime, multiple surveys have shown that a high percentage of Filipinos remained wary of getting shot, or jabbed, or vaccinated.

Almost half of the population are anti-vaxxers it seems. Their reasons vary. Some have a distrust of any kind of vaccine for any disease or illness. Others are afraid of injections. Still others have a fatalistic attitude, reasoning that when their time on this earth was done, nothing could be done to stop the inevitable.

Price is hardly an issue, as the vaccines are supposed to be free, courtesy of the magnanimous Duterte regime. Pardon my sarcasm, folks.

There’s another reason why some folks prefer not to get baksins. There’s a lot of supposed scientific data that says there are better ways to block coronavirus from entering one’s system. The most common is the regular use of ivermectin. There are even doctors who swear by it.

Then there are supposed studies allegedly from China and Russia, which recommend taking hot tea or aspirin as a prophylaxis.

One “study” says that coronavirus is not really a virus, but a protein. So why isn’t anyone calling it coronaprotein?

So many questions, so few answers.

For now, a sister said she bought Moderna vaccines for herself and her family, but was able to get free shots in Pasig, where she lives. This being the case, she said I could have her ordered vaccine when it arrives.

I guess I’m going to get myself baksinned, after all. And yes, I just invented that silly word. It must be the summer heat.