WE are in the middle of a pandemic.
I just thought I'd say that because it seems some people have overlooked it. We don't have the luxury of politicizing our pandemic response.
Of course, it doesn't mean everyone will just forget about 2022 and just kumbaya every single minute. Sen. Manny Pacquiao can still bombard the Duterte administration with corruption allegations all he wants. The Aquino family can continue to call in favors from their friends in the media and publish feel-good Noynoy Aquino anecdotes to help revitalize their necropolitical capital. Sen. Ping Lacson can investigate the troll farms ad nauseum. Sen. Grace Poe can downplay the 11.8-percent growth in the gross domestic product year-on-year for the second quarter of 2021.
Politics cannot and should not stop just because there is a pandemic, but we must never politicize our pandemic response.
What this means is that the only thing that needs to be insulated from partisan politics is our collective response to the pandemic. Because the fate of humanity rests on it.
Right now, that starts and ends with the Covid vaccines.
It is for that reason that I deplore the social media posts of certain academics who have resorted to an arbitrary hierarchical ranking of Covid vaccines that the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved for emergency use listing (EUL) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to.
There is no such thing as a hierarchy of Covid vaccines that have EUL from WHO and EUA from the FDA. All of them can help us get through the pandemic.
All of them.
But certain academics continue to insinuate such a hierarchy in their venomous social media posts. Of course, ordinary people also come up with similar social media content, but as a member of the academe, I consider it scandalous that fellow academics would behave in such a manner because this runs against the rigor of academic training, as well as the ethics of intellectual honesty, both of which the ordinary person did not benefit from or necessarily abide by.
It is quite disheartening.
These are people I know. The academe is a very small community and reputations for academic rigor and intellectual honesty take years to build. Thus, I find it unconscionable that there are academics who casually disregard all these because of their loathing for the temporary resident in Malacañang.
Some academics have resorted to a small-scale propaganda onslaught against certain Covid vaccines as collateral damage in their political attacks on President Rodrigo Duterte and his landmark foreign relations toward China and Russia. What makes this even more revolting is that these academics previously positioned themselves against Western (neo) imperialism in the Philippines, but now unabashedly profess fealty solely to Western vaccines in spite of the WHO's EUL and the FDA's EUA for non-Western vaccines.
Of course, they rationalize their malice through a selective manipulation of (unprocessed) evidence in favor of Western vaccines and against the Chinese (and Russian) vaccines.
They claim that the Western vaccines perform "much better" than their Chinese (and Russian) counterparts, even though there is no conclusive evidence to support this assertion. More importantly, the WHO and FDA do not engage in this kind of hierarchical ranking of Covid vaccines, repeating the pandemic mantra that the best vaccine is the one that is already available.
The WHO does not show any preference among the Covid vaccines granted EUL. The FDA does not favor any specific vaccine from among those granted the EUA.
My colleague professor Ferdinand Victoria is dismayed by the antics of certain academics who gloat that they were inoculated with a Western vaccine and not one from China. Prof. Victoria rhetorically asks, "does this mean that those of us who were inoculated with the Chinese vaccine are children of a lesser god?"
We academics are held to a higher standard because of the intense and rigorous training we undergo to earn our respective positions in the academe. But it seems that all the rigor and intellectual honesty fell by the wayside in favor of toxic partisan politics.
Is that the way it is now?
Sure, some academics loathe the President, and they are entitled to harbor such sentiments. They are welcome to criticize and attack the man for his handling of the country's pandemic response and other related issues. But this should not be allowed to spill over to an attack against vaccine confidence.
The common good dictates that we enhance and not diminish vaccine confidence. The fate of humanity rests on this. It is greater than who temporarily sits in Malacañang. Trained academics should be the first to appreciate and live by this.
Maybe I just have too much misplaced faith in some of my undeserving fellows.