OlgaHelena Fernández is a Colombian journalist and satirist. Her scathing and funny takes on Colombian politics and society can be found in the publication, Un Pasquín.
Every time someone tells me that they’re not going to get vaccinated, it fills me with infinite joy. “Well, they’re gonna put a chip in it to control us.” “They don’t know about the side effects.” “Bill Gates wants to control us.”
It doesn’t matter what their reasons are for not getting vaccinated. I don’t care. The more people that refuse the vaccine, the more chance there is that one of the doses (scarce as they will be) will find its way to me.
I’ve heard a few brilliant jokes about people’s fear of being vaccinated. “They’ve been eating sausages their whole lives and now they say they won’t take the vaccine because they don’t know what’s in it.” Exactly. They buy empanadas filled with meat of dubious origin, fried in black oil that hasn’t been changed since oil was first discovered, that are then brought to them by a guy wearing ‘disposable’ gloves that haven’t been changed for seven months. But they’re frightened of a vaccine developed by the most brilliant minds on the planet.
Another good one – when Pfizer first made Viagra available, no one questioned it. They took it and that was that. Now, however, they’re suspicious of the very same company. One conclusion to draw is that, for many, preventing Covid isn’t as important as preventing certain other things.
They believe that a magic cream is going to take away their cellulite, or their belly, or make their hair grow back, and yet they say don’t believe in the scientific community. Honestly, that cracks me up.
But going back to the real possibility of being vaccinated, here’s what I think. In theory, they’re going to start with people working in the healthcare sector. Then it’ll be the elderly, then those who have comorbidities, and then this group, and that group, through the rest of the population. With that system, I’ll be one of the last to get it, probably sometime in 2022.
But if this plan isn’t followed, and instead the vaccine rollout is done “Colombian style”, then in that case, I’ll never get it.
“Colombian style” means that they’ll first vaccinate the president, government ministers, senators, congressmen and women, city councillors, heads of state-run institutions, mayors, governors, then the people you see in the pages of celeb magazines, along with all their families – wives, kids, parents, siblings, in-laws, and friends.
In other words, if you’re not a politician, a relative of a politician, a friend of a politician, or one of their hangers-on, I’d suggest you don’t get your hopes up.
Let’s do the maths. Let’s suppose it’s true that 40 million doses arrive in the country, to vaccinate 20 million people, and none of them are damaged in the process. That leaves 31 million Colombians still waiting in line. How many politicians does Colombia have? How many professional bootlickers? From my extensive, two-second analysis, I think that in this country, there’s more “chief executives”, brown-nosers, minions, and experts string-pullers than there are stars in the sky (just to add a poetic touch to my writing.)
So, I don’t think the vaccine is going to reach you. Yet I have no doubt whatsoever that the Sarmientos and the Ardilas will be vaccinated within days.
We know that the vaccine stops you becoming infected, but we don’t yet know if you can still be a carrier of the virus. That is the worst part of it, because these illustrious individuals, who will jump the queue and be vaccinated before us mere mortals, will go out to restaurants, cinemas, shopping centres and parties. They’ll go out, maskless, as they’ll be part of the select group of “uninfectables”.
“I’m already vaccinated” will become the new, “Don’t you know who I am?”
And so, when your aunty tells you that she doesn’t believe the scientists, who have spent years working in immunisation, stand by her. Take her side. Help her to convince the whole family and all her friends not to get the vaccine. It’s our only hope of a precious dose reaching our own arms.
Translated by Molly Shevlin
Original article in Un Pasquín, January 2021: www.unpasquin.com/2021/01/18/por-favor-no-se-vacune/