From a single positive case of COVID-19 back in January — a 38-year-old female Chinese national from Wuhan — the Philippines case count as of writing breached the 458,000 mark, according to the report of the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday.

The death toll also increased to 8,911 after 36 more people succumbed to the disease. As the count grows, the date as to when the Philippine government will procure vaccines that are expected to at least make distressed Filipinos’ lives a little bit easier is still unknown.

Senator Panfilo Lacson previously bared that the government could have secured 10 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines as early as January next year, way ahead of Singapore, if not for DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III’s “indifference.”

Duque, according to Lacson, “failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement, namely the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA), as he should have done,” adding that “the country representative of Pfizer was even following up on the submission of such a documentary requirement.”

At the time of writing, Malaysia said it expects to receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in February, a report by national news wire Bernama revealed.

The Malaysian government last month announced it agreed to buy 12.8 million doses of the vaccine. Under the deal, Pfizer will deliver the first one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 1.7 million, 5.8 million, and 4.3 million doses to follow in subsequent quarters.

Singapore, the first Asian country to approve the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, expects delivery of the first shots by December-end. The free vaccines will initially be administered to healthcare workers and the elderly.

In all honesty, inserting this information alone in this article, I became the green-eyed monster, jealousy personified, suddenly asking myself: “When are we going to get our shot? When will my countrymen be vaccinated free of charge? Are these vaccines actually free?”

For now, just like the senator who bared the incompetence of the country’s health secretary, my Christmas wish, aside from us surviving the pandemic next year, is for the swift availability of an effective vaccine.

The country’s healthcare workers are already tired. Farmers and fisherfolks are famished. Jeepney drivers are earning less from driving more than a hundred kilometers a day. Hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers were displaced. Teachers are struggling to impart lessons to their students who aren’t learning enough amid the pandemic. Give us our shot the soonest, we beg.


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